Ijaw and Urhobo traditional rulers have urged the rival communities of Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja to sheathe their swords and permit peaceful coexistence between the residents of the two communities.
The monarchs made the decision over the weekend during an emergency meeting held at the palace of HRM Orhue I, the Orodje of the Okpe Kingdom and Chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council.
The traditional rulers gathered after an ultimatum circulated that Ijaw people living in Urhobo land should leave their homes due to the dispute between the Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja communities. The ultimatum was allegedly issued by an official of the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU).
The royal fathers urged those fanning the embers of war between the two communities to desist and embrace peace or be prepared to face the wrath of the law, saying that Ijaws and Urhobos are good neighbors.
“Urhobo and Ijaw are not at war with one another”, according to the chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council and Orodje of the Okpe Kingdom who read the communiqué following the meeting held behind closed doors.
However, the communique urged the Ukoko’ ri’vie of Urhobo Kingdom to persuade the UPU’s leadership to retract the provocative publication that suggested that the Urhobo and Ijaw were preparing for a communal war.
The state governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, was urged by the traditional rulers to speed up efforts to find a long-term solution for the impacted communities and to increase security in the region.
According to them, the alleged seven-day ultimatum issued by an anonymous group was fictitious and malicious as a result, and the public should disregard it.
Speaking to reporters about the meeting, King Joseph Timiyan JP, the chairman of the Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum and the Ebenanaowei of the Ogulagha Kingdom, as well as HRM King Monday Whiskey, Udurhie I, the Ovie of the Idjerhe Kingdom, and the Pere of the Kabowei Kingdom, expressed satisfaction with the decisions made.
The meeting was called at the instance of the chairman of Urhobo Traditional Rulers Council, Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, HRM Abe I, represented by his Vice Chairman, HRM Solomon Okukeren III, Ovie of Arhavwarien Kingdom.
At the end of the meeting, HRM Elder (Capt.) Joseph Timiyan PhD, Ebenanaowwi of Ogulagha Kingdom, Chairman, Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum, HRM Solomon Okukeren III, Ovie of Arhavwarien Kingdom, Vice Chairman, Urhobo Traditional Rulers Council signed a five point communique, which was read and witnessed by HRM, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe, Chairman, Delta State Traditional Rulers Council.
The communiqué reads, “The Urhobos and Ijaws Traditional Rulers after an extensive discussion on the age-long Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh crisis resolved that the Urhobos and Ijaws ethnic nationalities do not have personal problems and are not at war each others.
“That the Ukoko’ Re-Ivie of Urhobo nation should urgently call the executives of the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) as regards the provocative publication that gives the impression that the Urhobos and the Ijaws are at war.
“The Traditional Rulers resolved and appeal to the State Governor Rt. Hon. (Elder) Sheriff Oborevwori to urgently expedite action towards finding a lasting peace in the affected Communities and beef up security in the areas.
“The meeting called on the leadership of the two affected Communities to maintain peace and work on things that promote peace and unity of both ethnic nationalities in particular and the state at large.
“That the alleged seven (7) days ultimatum given by a faceless group is not only fake but mischievously done and should be disregarded by the general public” .
The meeting was attended by HRM, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe, Chairman, Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM Elder (Capt.) Joseph Timiyan PhD, Ebenanaowwi of Ogulagha Kingdom, Chairman, Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum, HRM Solomon Okukeren III, Ovie of Arhavwarien Kingdom, Vice Chairman, Urhobo Traditional Rulers Council, HRM, King Obukohwo Monday Whiskey JP, Udurhie I Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom, HRM F. F. Tabai, Pere of Tuomo.
Also in attendance were HRM Barr Shedrack Erebulu, Pere of Kabowei, HRM, Dr. Wilson Ojakovo, Ovie of Ughelli, HRM, Noble Eshemitan, Ovie of Oghara, HRM Oghenevwogaga Ebelle, Ovie of Agbarha Otor, HRM, Couple Oromoni, Pere of Ogbe-ijoh, HRM Bosu Dio, Ebenanaowwi of Iduwini, HRM, Johnbull Polokowei, Pere of Ogbolobiri Mein, HRM Sunday Odogu Okpurhe, Uduaka I, Ovie of Mosogar amongst others.