Tension is presently brewing between residents of Itsekiri speaking peope, other tribes and Benins resident in Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha local government area of Edo state over allegation by the communities that the Benins are foisting an alien administration on them.
The Itsekiri, during a protest in the area claimed that they have been living independently in Ologbo for over 400 years.
Speaking during a press conference held Wednesday in the community, spokesperson of the group, Comrade Gregg Temisan Luma on behalf of the people said the Itsekiri live in Ologbo, Ikara, Kolokolo, Ajoki, Ajatiton, Ajamogha, Abiala 1 and Abiala 2.
He noted that what was happening in the area was capable of sparking a community war and accused the Enogie of Ologbo, Prince Owen Akenzua of allegedly claiming to be their head.
Comrade Lima said the Itsekiri and the Ijaws have their independent heads.
He explained that the boundary adjustment made when Edo and Delta states were created, and the use of Ologbo River as a natural boundary was a mistake which he said was responsible for the Enogie to now lay claim of ownership of Ologbo and other riverine communities in the area.
He said, “The Itsekiri and Ijaw as a people have their own unique identity and will not be subsumed into another tribe in this modern day Nigeria.
“Therefore, we don’t recognise any dukedom put in place by the Binis to tactically obliterate the identity of the Itsekiri and Ijaw from Edo state and their right of self determination in Nigeria.
“These communities have their native laws, customs and local administrative system before the advent of British colonial rule in the areas they are today. We have never been an appendage of the Benin kingdom at any given time in history and will not accept that aberration of a dukedom to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
However, reacting to the development, the General Secretary of Ologbo dukedom, Deacon Friday Osazuwa in company of elders of the community said the protesters were faceless.
He said “The people that protested are faceless people, we don’t know them. The real Itsekiri people in Ologbo, the Ologbo people know who owns the land.
“Ologbo River is the natural boundary between Edo and Delta states. All areas in the Ikpoba-Okha local government area falls within the area under the Oba of Benin who owns the land and if Oba of Benin owns the land and in Benin custom and tradition, the enogie represents the Oba, then what are they sayinf? So whoever is disputing that, he should go to the palace of the Oba of Benin.”