Udu Youths under the aegis of the UPU Youth Wing, Udu Kingdom Chapter has issued stern warning to their Ijaw neighbours over the burning down of two Udu communities of Ayama and Epame as well as killing and abduction of several people, issuing quit notice to Ijaw people living in Udu to relocate elsewhere as their safety can no longer be guaranteed.
The youths also call on the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to act by arresting the situation on time or else the youths shall act by resorting to self-help to protect themselves in the face of Ijaw hostilities against Urhobo.
The position of Udu youths over the on-going war of Ijaws against Aladja community and their villages was made known in a press conference addressed by the President of the UPU Youth Wing, Udu Kingdom Chapter, Comrade Sunday Subi, on Thursday November 17, 2016 with several youth leaders from across Udu communities in attendance. The press conference took place at Otor-Udu, headquarters of the Udu people.
Narrating the ordeals of Urhobo people in the hands of their Ijaw neighbours over the years, Comrade Subi noted that Urhobos are aware of the criminal activities of the Ijaw people that have claimed many lives of Urhobo people within the coast of River Niger and Forcados, ‘’yet we have accommodated them. We strongly demand for the immediate release of Mr and Mrs Austine Oduaran and the other five Aladja indigenes held hostage in their Ijaw communities. Mrs Oduaran is from Ovwian while Mrs Baby College and her son, Ediri College are from Okwagbe town in Ughelli South LGA. They are not indigenes of Aladja and have no hands in the land disputes between the communities.
‘’In view of the recent hostilities of Ijaws against Urhobo in our own land, we hereby issue this quit notice to Ijaw people resident in Udu Local Government Area to relocate from Udu forthwith. This call has become necessary over the un-ending killing and kidnapping of Urhobo people by the Ijaws. We also use this medium to call on all Urhobo people in Ijaw lands to return home as soon as possible. This shall be our first and last warning.
‘’The Ijaws should know that it is the indigent Urhobo people that live and do business in their river-rine areas but their rich and influential men live and build houses in Urhoboland. If they fail to release the people they are holding hostage and continue to kill our Urhobo people, we shall not hesitate to carry out reprisal attack on them. The Ijaws are resident in all Udu Communities. We know where they are. We know their places of abode at Bendel Estate, Mosheshe Estate, Bright Hope, Ekpan, Ugborikoko, Ugboroke, Orerokpe, Osubi, Sapele, Oghara etc as well as their various hide outs’’, Comrade Subi warned.
He appealed to the rest of the Urhobo nation to see the current battle as hostility against the entire Urhobo people, warning landlords and land vendors to be wary of Ijaw patronage so as not to be made to suffer tomorrow over their benevolence as Ijaws have proven over time that they do not appreciate good hosts. The youths body aslso drew the attention of the State Government to the activities of Mr Boro Opudu, Chairman, Delta State waterway/Land Security committee who, he said, is using the state security apparatus to acquire arms and ammunitions for his Ijaw brothers to prosecute the war on Urhobo, urging the state governor to visit the affected area, and find ways to rebuild the villages for the indigenes to return home.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports have suggested that Ijaws, in their bid to conquer and subdue more Urhobo communities along the coastal belt of the River Niger, have issue notice to five other Urhobo communities including Ighwrogun, Ophorigbala, Esaba and Otutuama in Ughelli South LGA and Oleri in Udu LGA to vacate their lands for Ijaws to take over, claiming ownership of those villages.
Information at our disposal suggests that the Ijaws are planning massive attack on these Urhobo villages in order to sack the aborigines Urhobo people for Ijaw to claim ownership. This suggests more trouble between Urhobo and Ijaws in the coming years.
The youth leaders of Ayama, Epame and Aladja communities, in separate interviews appealed to the Delta State Government to intervene in order to halt the rampaging Ijaw warriors who have taken over Ayama and Epame, looting property and planting their flags in those villages in a brazen manner, while also threatening to over-run Aladja and conquer it for occupation of Ijaw people.
By Matthew Krokele and John Kpekpen