We have no land to cede to Ijaw, Benin leaders insist
Traditional rulers, priests, chiefs, elders and political leaders including serving legislators at the state and National Assembly made the declaration yesterday at a meeting of elders in Benin City.
The Bini and Ijaw in parts of the state have been having land disputes, which if not properly handled, could lead to crisis in the state.
But at the meeting, the Bini insisted that the disputed land in five communities in Edo South Senatorial District belong to them and that the Ijaw, who they described as settlers, do not have any right to the land where they currently dwell.
They called on the Bini at home and in the Diaspora to unite and ensure that the Ijaw do not take any parcel of Benin land away from them.
Convener of the meeting and the traditional ruler of Obazuwa, Prince Edun Akenzua told the gathering that the meeting became necessary to plan how best to tackle the threat from the Ijaw, who are bent on taking over Benin land forcefully.
He said: “The threat from the Ijaw is audacious and more urgent”, adding that despite the ruling by the Supreme Court in 1983 in favour of the Bini, the Ijaw have never given up on their claims over Gelegele and other communities in the kingdom.
He wondered why the Ijaw could be so bold to seek the state government recognition of the five kingdoms, which they said have in Benin land and also requested the government should present a staff of office to their traditional ruler (Pere).
“The Ijaw said they are aborigines of Edoland and that wherever they now find themselves is their God-given land,” Akenzua said.
He called on the Benin people to defend their land and territories and ensure that the Ijaw do not invade the Oba Palace as they had earlier threatened.
“The Ijaw also gave the government and the Oba a 21-day ultimatum to apologise for not recognising their Pere and Olodiama, otherwise, they would make the state ungovernable and storm Government House and Oba Palace,” Akenzua added.
Also speaking, representative of Edo South Senatorial District, Matthew Urhoghide, urged the Ijaw to obey the Supreme Court judgment and respect the laws of the land.
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