Hundreds of placard-carrying protesters from Ogbe-ijoh urban communities barricaded the main gate of Government House, Asaba, Delta State Tuesday, demanding a ward in the Warri South Local Government in the state.
This is the third protest organised by the aggrieved Ogbe-Ijoh people since the ward creation in 2020 by Delta State Independent Commission.
They have organised two protests in Warri recently, drawing the state governor’s attention to their plight.
Speaking to journalists, community leaders, Mr. Friday Deinghan and King Jerry Prebor, expressed their disappointments with Ijaw people in Warri after being excluded in the recent ward creation in the Warri South Local Government Area.
The Warri South council has 19 wards; Urhobo, nine wards; Itsekiri, 10 wards, while the Ijaw people have no ward.
The protesters described it as injustice and an aberration to give the single ward allocated to Warri South council to the Itsekiri who already had 10.
They called on Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to review the recent ward creation in the council area, so as to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the state government, the State Commissioner for Urban Development, Chief Arthur Akpowowo, commended them for the peaceful protest.
Akpowowo, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Chief Emmanuel Agbadugba, and the Commissioner for Energy, Mr Basil Ganagana, said the protest was legitimate and assured that a delegation of 10 persons from the protesters would be invited to dialogue with the government on how to best resolve their grievances.
Recently, the aggrieved youths of Ogbe-Ijoh embarked on a protest during which the main gate of Warri South council secretariat was barricaded. They called on Okowa to ensure there is justice by directing the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) to delineate just a single electoral ward for them.
A position paper presented to the press on behalf of the protesters was signed by the following persons: Comrade Nathaniel Oronomoni, Chairman, Ogbe-Ijoh Concern Youths Warri Kingdom; Comrade Lot Loyibo, Coordinator, Ijaw Delta Ijaw Political Assembly, DIPA, Warri South; HRH Jerry Prebor, Amananaowei of Meinbutus, Etumadimane Dames, Seyefa; Youth President, Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom and Okosu Smart; and IYC Chairman, Ogbe-Ijoh Warri kingdom. They warned that if justice was not seen to be done for the Ogbe-Ijoh urban communities by the DSIEC and Delta State government, they would have no other option but to resort to any possible means to draw public attention to the alleged connivance between DSIEC and Delta State government against them as a minority tribe in Warri South Council.
The protesters said their proposed ward had met all DSIEC requirements for ward creation in the state. So, they accused DSIEC and Delta State government of sidelining them in favour of the Urhobo and Itsekiri of Warri South Local Government Area.