Chaos as protesters shut down Warri Council over creation of ward
Business and other activities in Warri were disrupted yesterday as hundreds of protesters stormed the Warri South Council Secretariat and adjoining roads, protesting against the alleged marginalisation of the Ijaw in the council.
Specifically, they said the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) sidelined them in the creation of new wards in the area ahead of council election early next year.
As early as 9:00 a.m., the protesters barricaded Warri-Sapele Road and NPA Bypass causing heavy traffic that stretched several kilometers.
Soldiers and police were quickly deployed to government facilities in Warri and its environs to secure them, as authorities thought the second phase of the #EndSARS protest had commenced.
Following the development, the Commandant of the 3 Battalion, Effurun, had to personally address the protesters on the Warri-Sapele Road on the need to maintain law and order.
The protesters marched to the council Secretariat with placards some of which had the inscriptions: This Is The Mother Of All Injustice, The Marginalisation Of Ijaw In The Political Arrangements Of Warri South, Okowa Give Us Our Ward and No Ward For Ijaw In Warri South, No Election In The Riverine Communities, among others.
They issued a seven-day ultimatum for the ‘mistake’ to be reversed, otherwise, they would embark on an indefinite protest.
Ijaw leader and spokesman of the Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom, Friday Deinghan, said the protest was to inform Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and DSIEC to give the Ijaw of Warri South their own ward.
“We are angry because Governor Okowa whom the Ijaw people supported financially and morally to be in government, has shown injustice to the Ijaw people by taking the only ward that belongs to them and gives it to the itsekiri.”0
“Ogbe-Ijoh people are part of Warri urban and it is expected that we should have our representative in the Warri South Council.” Wards were created for the Ijaw people before the Itsekiri hijacked it,” he said.
He explained that when the Ijaw first noticed the discrepancy, they protested but nobody listened and that the DSIEC brought the application that it wanted to bring all the wards to 20 in each council, 10 for the Itsekiri, nine for the Urhobo, and the remaining one for the Ijaw to have a sense of belonging in the council, but they were now being deprived of the ward.