BSM alleges Ijaws plan to excise Edo commmunity – Nigerian Observer

BENIN CITY – The Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM), a socio-cultural non-political organisation, has alerted the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and the Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II of plans by the Ijaws in Ovia-North-East Local Government Area of the State to excise the Iko commmunity from the inhabitants.

Iko, corrupted to Ikoro is a community in Obazuwa Dukedom.

At a press briefing in Benin City, an executive member of BSM and son of the Odionwere of the community, Mr. Henry Aigboduwa Igbinosun said that the Ijaws who are settlers in the riverine area in the locality have no reason to lay claim to ownership of land in Iko commmunity.

BSM was apparently reacting to a media report of July 21,2021 credited to “a self acclaimed Ijaw Group, IYC Chairman.

“These elements majorly settlers, with some betraying Benins have resorted to accusing the people of Obazuwa who are aborigines as trouble making people; this is a claim that is far from the truth because Iko community is controlled by the Enogie of Obazuwa in Ovia-North-East Local Government Area who is the representative of the Oba of Benin as the traditional head of the locality.

“From history, the Ijaws benefited from the large heart of the Oba of Benin who gave them a settlement in their fishing business, but they have now become major land rivals, which they termed to be their ancestral land.

“Let us sound it very loud and clear to the Ijaw settlers who vis-a-vis are customary tenants to the Oba of Benin Kingdom that there is no town or commmunity in Benin Kingdom called Ikoro in Ovia-North-East Local Government Area of Edo State.”

According to Igbinosun, “We are not contesting anything with them as regards their Ikoro. Our area of interest lies within our territory, Iko community in Ovia-North-East Local Government Area of Edo State where we have over the years accommodated them and other tribes.”

He said that Obazuwa commmunity has been in existence before the reign of Oba Ewuare I in 1440.

A woman leader, Madam Julie Igbinosun and another indigene, Prince Ileledo Igbinosun Ogiemwonyi said that the Ijaws are harassing and chasing them (indigenes) from Iko, their ancestral land with guns and other dangerous weapons, and therefore prayed the State Governor and the Benin Monarch to come to their aid.

They noted that the Ijaws were know traders and fishermen who come to the hinder land to engage in trade-by-barter with the indigenes farming population and wondered how they become land owners in the community where they were never farmers.

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