A socio-political group, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has warned that all efforts geared towards intimidating the Ijaws in Edo state would be an exercise in futility, as it added that they (Ijaw) cannot be cowered into submission, despite repeated attempts to do so.
IYC, in a statement signed and released by its President, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, on Wednesday said it was not surprised by the recent outbursts of some Bini leaders and threats to evict the Ijaws, but claimed that the Ijaws’ occupation of the lands, ”predated the history of Benin people in that part of the country”.
It warns; “No amount of threats will cow (sic) the Ijaw man to submit his land to the Oba of Benin or any other person, no matter the threats of aggression”.
The statement said; ”IYC sees the press release issued by these troublesomely war mongers, otherwise known as Benin leaders, which was published in the Vanguard Newspaper of 14th February 2018 edition as another ranting by toothless bulldogs who can only bark but cannot bite”.
Still on the occupation issue, the statement was categorical in its assertion of the efficacy of the Ijaw’s strength and its trajectory in resistance to any form of emasculation.
”The Ijaws have never been conquered. We are equal to the task. None of our territories in Edo state will be given to Oba of Benin or his acolytes.
”We are not under his over-lordship and so he cannot Lord it over us. We are distinct people, with distinct custom and tradition. Now that the Edo state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in his ingenuity is making frantic efforts to maintain peace in the state, we implore our Benin brothers to join the governor in his peace drive”.
On a peaceful note, the Ijaw group pointed to the history of the area, where the Ijaws have lived in peace together for long and implored their Benin counterparts, to toe the line of peace, as according to it, the wind of discord will not do anybody, any good.
”The wind of discord they are blowing in the state will not do anybody, any good” the statement admonished. ”We have been living together as brothers in the state for centuries. The Ijaws who have never at any time been colonised by the Benin people, cannot now be colonised.
”It is our sincere advice that they heed the voice of reasons. Those who are fanning the ember of discord should be ready to apply fire extinguisher to quench (put out) the likely ethnic conflagration, that may shake the foundation of our existence,” the statement added.