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IYC kicks over threat to arrest ‘monarch’ in Edo


Eric Omare

• Demands apology from govt

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has condemned the threat by the Edo State government to arrest the newly crowned Pere of Olodiama.The IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare, said the Ijaws in Edo have a right to their own king as indigenes.

Omare said the threat by the state government and the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) was a declaration of war against the Ijaw people.The state government and the Benin palace had warned that the coronation of the monarch in Ovia North-East Local Council Area was sacrilegious, adding that those involved would be arrested and prosecuted.

The statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodin Ogie, said: “This abominable and sacrilegious pronouncement constitutes an unprecedented affront to the long settled culture, traditions and norms of our people.


It directed the law enforcement agencies to “Take all steps to immediately abort the proposed or purported “coronation” and effect the immediate arrest and prosecution of all persons involved either as beneficiary, participant or sponsor, to the full extent of all extant laws.”

According to Omare, the implication of the statement is that Governor Godwin Obaseki had lost the moral and constitutional right to govern over the Ijaw people in the state.He cited the areas involved as Olodiama, Okomu, Gbarain, Egbema and Furupa kingdoms.

Omare said: “The statement is not only provocative, but an invitation to war by a state government and it is totally unacceptable. It is a deliberate and wicked attempt by Bini officials of the Edo State government to rewrite history. The Ijaw nation would vehemently resist this attempt.

“For the records, the Ijaw people of Olodiama, Gbarain, Okomu, Egbema and Furupa kingdoms in Edo State are aborigines in the lands where they are living. They were there for so many years even before the Binis came to the present land under the leadership of their own traditional institutions.“The Ijaws of Edo had never been under the traditional institution of any other ethnic nationality in the state or elsewhere in Nigeria.”

He called on the state government to immediately withdraw its statement and render an unreserved apology to the ‘Pere of Olodiama’ kingdom, the Ijaw people of Edo State and the Ijaw nation at large.

Also, the coordinator of the Order of Egbesu Brotherhood, Bodmas Kemepadei, said Obaseki’s claim that the Ijaw community is non-existent, is a clear display of ignorance.He stressed that the coronation became necessary following the second-class treatment melted on Ijaws in these communities. He added that this was not the first time that the kingdom would be having a monarch.

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Eric Omare
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