By EMMANUEL OGOIGBE
IJAW leaders in Delta State, have warned the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami not to instigate another crisis between the Ijaw and Itsekiri in Warri South West local government area of Delta state.
Chief Michael Johnny, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress APC, who spoke on behalf of Ijaw leaders yesterday in Warri, said ” the comment made by Malami that the correct location of the Nigerian Maritime University is Okenrenghigho and not Okerenkoko, such a careless statement from Malami is already generating tension across Niger Delta region”.
Malami had in a memo signed by H.A. Tahir, dated October 17, 2017, to the Clerk of the National Assembly, advised the National Assembly to change the name of the location of the Nigerian Maritime University, from Okerenkoko, to Okerenghigho insinuating that the land on which the University is sited belong to Itsekiri.
Johnny said ” as an Ijaw leader from Okerenkoko, my position is clear on this matter, I want peace among the Ijaw and Itsekiri in Warri South West local government, we are brothers and neighbours and it will remain so, Okerenkoko is an Ijaw land, let’s live in peace”.
According to Johnny, “The Malami’s memo could encourage criminality, militancy, vandalism as mischiefs makers may use it as an opportunity to perpetuate violence and unrest in Warri South West and Niger Delta. This is another deliberate attempt to cause fresh crisis in Niger Delta, but let me remind Malami and his co-travellers in the already failed attempt to instigate ethnic crisis that we the Ijaws and the people of Okerenkoko are peace loving and law abiding, my people are not ready to go into war with the Itsekiri, not again”.
He continued, “Whatever Supreme Court decision or judgment which Malami is relying on is fraud and immaterial as the Ijaws and people of Okerenkoko would never accept any attempt to cede their land to Itsekiri. Malami should not breach the peace and security already restored by President Muhammadu Buhari in Niger Delta. More so, Malami should have visited Okerenkoko community to ascertain the true ownership of Okerenkoko land before issuing a misleading memo to the National Assembly”
“I am an Ijaw man from Okerenkoko, where the Maritime University is located, the Itsekiri people cannot claim ownership of Ijaw land for whatever reason, therefore, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami should withdraw the memo immediately and apologise to the people of Okerenkoko for calling us tenants or strangers in our God-given land”.