30th November, 2019
IPDI CONDEMNS BURNING DOWN OF ETEKELE COMMUNITY BY SOME SECTION OF ITSEKIRIS, AS THE GROUP DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF TWO IJAWS UNLAWFULLY DETAINED IN FORCE HEADQUARTERS, ASABA
Our attention has been drawn to an incessant, barbaric and unlawful Invasion and burning down of Etekele community by a group of Itsekiri youths from Warri. It is our demand that those Itsekiris who attacked and set ablaze Etekele community be arrested and made to face the music of the law to avoid the Ijaws seeing what is happening has another face of ethnic war which we are not praying for.
It is also our demand that the unlawfully detained two Ijaws in the force headquarters at Asaba be released without further delay. Those Ijaws who are unlawfully detained are innocent. They are good Samaritans who went to A_division Warri to incident the uproar in ETEKELE community.
Itsekiris who invaded the peaceful Ijaw Community should be arrested and detained in immediate effect.
We were briefed that Etekele community is an Ijaw community but currently occupied by Ijaws and few Uhrobos.
Their common occupation is fishing, fitching of wood, and ferrying of boat.
Our source told us that about some days ago, a woman went to Etekele with a big boat for ferry, the other ferry owners refused to allow her to use the boat, reason being that the size of the boat was overwhelming and it led to a dispute.
Suddenly, some Itsekiris who got the information about the minor dispute in the community invaded the community with speed boats and began to harassed and accussed them that they are trying to gang up to take over their land.
Besides, no land in ETEKELE community is own by any Itsekiri, including the bush they are cutting wood belongs to Etekele community and those who cut wood there pays rent to ETEKELE Community, according to our investigation.
The issue escalated and resulted to a full blown conflict between the Etekele community and the Itsekiris. During the conflict, Mr Victor OTATUWAWEI and other unarmed people ran away through the bush into another community and from there, they escaped to Warri.
“Upon reaching Warri, information got to them that two persons have died in the conflict. The detained Victor OTATUWAWEI and Omoko Festus decided to go to A-division to report the situation to the police.
Upon reaching A-Division, Victor and Festus were detained based on the fact that the Itsekiris had already informed the police on the matter.
The police ,without allowing them to contact anyone, they took them straight to Asaba for Homicide.
Effort to bail them has proved abortive as the police said it is working on instructions of Olu of Itsekiri, as he ordered that they should not be released.
We condemned the action of the Itsekiri Monarch, the issue is a commual, an Ijaw was killed and no Itsekiri has been arrested, instead of him to order for the arrest of other Itsekiris who fermented the trouble, he is giving frivilous order that the Ijaws who voluntarily visited the police station to inform the police over the incident should not be released. He is bias and such action is capable of causing another tribal war.
In a related development we were informed that there was another attack on the Etekele fishing camp on Yesterday 29th November, 2019, by the itsekiri youths led by one Pleasure Emiko where the village was burnt down. We are calling on the security agents and Delta State government to swing into action and fetch out the perpetrators as we viewed this unprovoked attacks as a declaration of war against Ijaws in WARRI. We are pushed to the wall. We will react if the Government fails to take appropriate action against the Itsekiri youths who are at large.
We demand that the police should tread with caution as their action could escalate the conflict.
It is our further request that the unlawfully arrested Ijaws be released without further delay to avoid other unfriendly reactions on the matter and the Police should carry out discrete investigation on the matter and bring the actual perpetrators to face the full weight of the law.
Comrade Emma Keneware, Acting Secretary, Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI.