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Ednut
Dec 23, 2008, 11:39 AM
Residents flee Delta 23/12/2008


From Shola O'Neil, Warri

Residents are fleeing Odimodi and Ogu-lagha communities in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State as the strife between the two Ijaw communities deepened yesterday.

The neighbouring communities are squaring up over oil royalties and ownership claims on some communities and land in the areas. Both sides have barred their neighbours from their communities.

The latest crisis followed the alleged action of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) over a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) conducted last week to ascertain the cause of a spill from its facility.

The company flouted the House of Assembly's directive on the involvement of both parties.

It took only Ogulagha for the exercise, much to the displeasure of Odimodi.

Tempers flared between Odimodi and Ogulagha, after the former prevented the JIV from holding and also hijacked a bus belonging to the oil firm.

The intervention of the Joint Task Force (JTF) led to the release of the vehicle but tempers continue to rise amidst rumours of imminent attack on both sides.

An aged resident of Ogulagha suffered heart attack on Saturday night when a false report of an Odimodi attack hit the community.

The victim, who also suffered partial paralysis as a result, is on admission at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).

The Chairman of Odimodi Community, Mr. Presley Angiama, has appealed to the state government to avert fresh blood shed between the communities where over 120 persons were killed on May 1, 2003.

Angiama blamed the management of NAOC for the latest crisis between the communities, wondering why it ignored the Assembly's directive on the visit.

The JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Rabe Abubakar, appealed to both sides to sheathe their swords in the interest of peace.

He said the task force had directed its troops to prevent violence.


And from our Southern brothers resident at the creeks allover the Delta and beyond.


Ijaw warn against ethnic strife 23/12/2008


From Shola O'Neil, Warri

The Ijaw in Delta State yesterday warned persons allegedly instigating another ethnic crisis between them and their Itsekiri neighbours to desist or face the consequences.

The Warri Ijaw Peace Monitoring Group (WIPMG), which gave the warning, also cautioned against unguarded statements that could unleash fresh mayhem between the two groups, saying it is high time they united and fought a common cause.

It accused the Warri Interest Group (WIG) of statements that could unleash fresh hostility between them.

A statement by WIPMG Chairman, Chief Patrick Bigha, said an Itsekiri leader "has been beating the drums of war, which we do not pray for."

The WIPMG and WIG have been locked in a war of wit on the ownership of Ijalagha community

While the former claimed saying that it is a part of Gbaramatu Kingdom , WIG, led by Mr. Alex Eyengho, said it is a part of Ugborodo community.

Eyengho has raised the alarm over alleged threats to his life.

But Bigha said: "We wish to state that nobody is after Alex Eyengho. "It is high time he is called to order by well-meaning Itsekiri people. He is trying to drag the Itsekiri into a war with the Ijaw with his unguarded utterances."

Bigha lamented the constant face-off between the two oil bearing neighbours, saying both sides should be wary of "disgruntled elements who stand to destroy and not to build."

"The Ijaw and the Itsekiri have had enough bitter days. This is the time for us to come together and fight our common enemies.

"Let peace reign in Warri and its environs as we are tired of bloodbath," Bigha said.