The Arogbo Ijaw Youth Network (AIYN) has given a 21-day ultimatum to the Ondo State authorities, demanding the reversal of their land’s transfer to Irele and Ilaje local government areas within the proposed local council development areas (LCDAs).
In response to the proposed creation of 33 LCDAs from the existing 18 local government areas in Ondo State, certain communities have expressed their opposition through protests.
The Arogbo Ijaw Youth Network, represented by Comrade Shoki Gbadia, National President of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe Youth Council, and Comrade Ebikontei Utanghan, Publicity Secretary, has jointly issued a statement. They urge the state government to promptly withdraw the map depicting the 33 LCDAs and address any identified violations.
As a socio-cultural organization for Arogbo Kingdom’s youth globally, the group considers the map a deceitful endorsement of land appropriation.
The group firmly states that they will not yield their land to the ‘Ilaje Nation.’ They emphasize their determination to fiercely resist any attempt to encroach upon their territory, likening it to the historical resistance of the Ijaw People, much like the ancient spirits of Scotland opposing Emperor Claudius of Rome’s invasion of Great Britain for its natural resources in the earliest centuries.
The statement reads in part, “Our attention has been drawn to a purported Administrative map for Ondo State recently published by the State Government wherein traditional Arogbo Ijaw communities were dubiously put under Ilaje local government.
“In the map in question, an entire political ward, Ukparama Ward 11 and some major communities in Ukparama Ward 11 Ward 1 which have been indigenously occupied for hundreds of decades by Arogbo Ijaw people have all been ceded to Ilaje Local Government. Some of the affected Ijaw communities are Ajapa, Ukpe, Bolowo, Akpata, Opuba, and Ogidigba among others.
“How people graciously offered to settle upon their migration from Ile-life during a similar dispute with Oduduwa, and became owners of our own land remains the most hilarious joke of the century.
“As the apex socio-cultural organisation for the youth of Arogbo Kingdom worldwide, we describe the map as a dubious license for land thievery and discard it in its totality.
“It is rather unfortunate that such a document could emanate from the circle of government.
“We want to make our position abundantly clear and known to anybody that cares to listen on this highly inflammatory matter. We will not cede our land to ‘Ilaje Nation.’ Any attempt to take over an inch of our territory will be met with aggressive resistance as typical of the Ijaw People, just like the ancient spirits of Scotland resisted Emperor Claudius of Rome in the earliest centuries who invaded the Great Britain for its God-given resources.
“We are aware that some Ilaje hegemons in government who have sustained disdain for Arogbo people are behind this repulsive aberration. But when the push comes to shove, there wouldn’t be a hiding place for them.
“For the records, this same brazenly revived attempt to take over parts of Arogbo Ijaw territory led to the 1998/1999 Ijaw-Ilaje fratricidal war which claimed hundreds of lives on both sides and unfortunately it still lingers on.
“Going forward, more than ever before, we are poised to protect the territorial essence of Arogbo Ijaw Kingdom and we shall do so at all costs.
“We hereby issue a 21-day ultimatum to the state government state starting from 10th of August, 2023 and whosoever fanning this ember of anarchy to: withdraw the map from circulation forthwith and correct all observed infractions therein; publish a new map that reflects all territories and communities indigenous to Arogbo Ijaw people in order to avoid another crisis and tender an unreserved apology to the peace-loving Arogbo Ijaw people for the conspicuous infractions committed against them in the map.
“If nothing is done by the expiration of this ultimatum, the state government should be held responsible for whatever happens.”
“Above all, we call on all the security agencies in Ondo state to; be duly informed and prevail on the relevant authorities to do the right thing for the sake of peace. This is the irreducible minimum we can do to sustain the extant peace in the coastal belt of our dear state,” the statement added.
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