Tension as Itsekiris Renew Claim of Ownership of Maritime University Site

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  • Gives 14-day ultimatum to IOCs, FG to change name of site

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Tension is gradually building up in Gbaramatu kingdom as the Itsekiris thursday renewed their claim of the ownership of the Nigerian Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Warri South West Local Government Srea of Delta State.

The establishment of the university is one of the conditions given for peace to reign in the region by the Niger Delta militants as presented to the federal government through the pan-Niger Delta Elders’ Forum led by Chief Edwin Clark.
In heeding the condition, the Senate penultimate week passed a bill for the establishment of the university while the people of the region are awaiting the same action from the House of Representatives.

The state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa had last Wednesday, at a press briefing in Asaba, assured the people of the state that the university would take off by October this year.

But the Itsekiri youths under the aegis of Niger Delta Omega (NIDO) yesterday issued a 14-day ultimatum to the federal and state governments and all international oil companies (IOCs) operating in their land to rename the location of the university, Okerenkoko as Okerenghigho as allegedly recognised by the laws of the country.

The group also demanded the immediate provision of licences to Itsekiris to own and operate oil blocks and modular refineries in their land, completion of the Koko-Ogheye-Lagos road project, pilling of all Itsekiri riverine communities, employment of Itsekiri indigenes by the IOCs, provision of light, potable water, hospitals as well as motorable roads with bridges to connect Itsekiri areas in the Niger Delta.

NIDO in a statement signed by its spokesman, Agbogunyo Oliriogun, warned that failure to meet their demands within 14 days would attract the wrath on all assets of the federal government and that of the IOCs.

It advised that it would be better for the IOCs to move all their personnel, equipments and installations before the end of the 14 days if they (IOCs) know that they won’t be able to meet up with the demands within the stipulated days.
The group lamented that Itsekiris cannot continue to sit and watch the wickedness, underdevelopment and oppression of their people by the government at all levels and the IOCs.

“Though the Itsekiri nation produces about 30 per cent of the national oil production, it is sad to note that most Itsekiris from oil producing communities have not seen a tarred road, television, an hospital, electrical powered light, fan or a car as a result of the stealth wickedness by both the government and the IOCs in under developing our land,” it said.
NIDO lambasted some Itaekiri youths who allegedly connived with the government and multinational oil companies in the underdevelopment of the communities for alleged selfish reasons.

“We note with dismay how both factions of the Itsekiri National Youth Council are using the present situation in Itsekiri to do their private self-centred business to the detriment of the tribe. The youth leadership of the Itsekiri people that is suppose to provide leadership have ended up been hijacked by politicians who now use it at will to satisfy their interest
“It is most shocking that both factions of the INYC don’t care about how the tribe is fairing, neither do they think of what their actions may cause the tribe in the long run rather they are only concern in power tussle and how to use the tribe to hustle for political relevance,” it added.

The statement warned that “in line with the foregoing we call on all Nigerians at large and Itsekiri in particular not to take any action from both factions of the Itsekiri National Youths Council (INYC) serious because they are both hustlers and jobbers who are not to be taken serious, hence all their threat and ultimatum should be ignored as it is merely a tool to gain government patronage. We warn the two factions of the INYC to keep clear from all activities for the survival of Itsekiri by NIDO or they should be ready to face our wrath.”