The conflict between the Ijaw and
itesekiri of warri metropolis between may and July 1997 could be
regarded as inter – communal feud as a result of economic and political
There are some Issues worthy of note
The political Issues
This involves land ownership
tussles, when the urholo indigenes of warri were presently memorandum to
the justices Alhassan Idoko led judicial commission of inquiry on the
19th of June, 1997 at the petroleum Training institute centre
auditorium effuru warri, the urhobo testified that the ethnic conflicts
between ijaw and itesekiri in warri North, South and southwest local
Government Area was due to political and economic problems
Chief Benjamin Okumagba stated
that the olu of warri ogiame otuwase II is a ruler in exile and it is
an abomination for a traditional to buy a piece of land for his palace
chief okumagba told the commission that the father of the present Olu,
Erejuwa II begged his father (Okumagba’s father) for a piece of land.
Also, okumagba stated that the federal government succumbed to the
bidding of the olu of warri Ogiame Atuwatse II and his itesekiri rule
warri metropolies through river – rine wards of ode – itsekiri, obodo
Also, the transfer of councilmeant for the ijaw clan of ogbeh – yoh, Isaba and Abaramatu on the 13th
of march 1997 to the itsekiri and the citing of the headquarters in an
itsekiri settlement called ogidigba in warri North local government,
also triggered of the conflict between the communities of ijaw and
itsekiri on 17th May, 1997.
THE TITLE OF OLUSHIP
More so, going memory lane
chief Bajamin Okumagba allega that changing of the tittle of olu of
itsekiri to olu of warri in 1952 by chief obafemi Awolowo Action Group
government is one of the remote causes of the tribal feud because of the
Urhobo and the ijaw in warri see it as a punitive action against them
because 1960 – 1966 they were against Action Group rather they voted for
Dr. Nnamidi Azikwe NCNC
Tendering a letter of 13th
Septemeber 1952 from the acting civil secrtary western rgion to the
chief secrtary to the government, chief Okumagba insisted that
subsequent move by the royal father to create chieftaincy title from the
itsekiri to redlect warri and the warri communal land trust by the then
Action group of the itsekiri was the genesis of the constant communal
feud in warri,
The ijaws also complained that the oil
companies operating in the area could not embark on any development
programme in the areas, instead according to chief E.K. clark, a
frontline ijaw senator representing warri and its environs during the
second republic testified before the justie Alhassan idoko led judicial
commission of enquiry at the petroleum training institute conference
centre (PTI) warri in 19th June 1997 that instead rendering
help to the various Ijaw communities the oil companies decide to help
the olu of warri ogiame otuwatse II thereby leaving the communities in a
devastating and helpless state.
According to the chief clark
the olu is involved in fund misappropriation and resources from the oil
companies operating in the areas especially, chevron Nigeria limited to
intimidate people in an attempt to Lord it voer, every body including
the ijaws and the Urhobo’s of warri.
This is economic sabotage
because instead of keeping the ijaws and the urhobos who’s the oil
companies are situated and bless by God as a gift of nature. The oil
companies in collaboration with the olu of warri decide to embezzle and
babish the money to the masses. For example, lake the case of Ugbodo
community who took the oil company to court for allegedly paying the olu
of warri the sum of one hundred million naira (N100m). This is money
that can be used in developing the communities being wasted in an
individual while the masses suffer, in fact, this is purely on economic
Though the arrowhead of the
discontent was the relocation of the warri south local government
headquarters from ogbeh – ijoh in 1997 this in which many lives and
property were lost in the warri metropolis
An ijaw leader, Mr. Ekpebibe
Akeh, enumerated the historical background of the ijaw relationship with
the itsekiri dand the oil companies especially, chevron (formally Guif
oil company) which he said, started operartion there in 1960. He
disclosed this in the Guardian News paper of 13th October
1998 while conducting the Guardian reporter round the ijaw communities.
Mr. Ekpebibe traced the ethnic group feud from the colonial days when
forcados, an ijaw town was headquarters of Nigerian and as a district,
had a native court sited at Ogidigben for the ugorodo, thus establishing
itsekiri leadership over Ijaws.
The Issue of the relocation of warri south Local government headquarters from ogheh – ijaw to ogidigben in 13th March 1997 was a return to colonial times.
Subsequently, there are counter claims
on the true of the ownership of warri from all ethnic group corners
example concerned itsekiri professionals Guardian
Thursday 1st May 1997 in an adventional title
“ITSEKIRI REQUEST FURTHER ACTION BY FEDERAL MILITARY GOVERNMENT”
Stated among other tings that the ijaws
enclave settlement of ogbeh – ijaw, Egbema and Abramatu all in warri
metropolis are itsekiri land.
They also cited a suptreme
court judgement suits number sc/37173/3. in the same way the itsekiri
regard the urhobos as customary tenunts of itsekiri
This was in line with
statements of a prominent itsekiri leader and retired judge of the
defunct bender state, justice franklin Atake in the front page
News story, 13th
June 1997 with the headline – ijaws, Urhobos are tenants in warri.
Justice Atake claimed that the ijaws came from their homeland of western
ijaw while Urhobos migrated from Agbarho – Otor.
More so, the ijaws and the Urhobos also have their claims, for example, the Guardian of 30th
April 1007 titled “URHOBO INDIGENES OF WARRI” chief Benjamin Okumagba
(JP) referred to itsekiri clainms as a repeact of the itsekiri and the
olus usual false propaganda and reckless in timidation of government
functionaries over the warri crisis.
This was actually reported on 29th
April in the Guardian Newspaper. In this report titled” THE OLUAND HIS
ITSEKIRI PEOPLE HOMELAND THEORY” chief Okumagba stated that every human
being has a homeland and that he olu and his itsekiri leader homeland is
in ode – itsekiri and their respective villages not in warri
metropolis. He also stated that the olu and his chiefs are strangers in
warri metropolis. He cannot lay claim to a square metre of land acquired
through inhertance as compared to his humble self and other Urhobos of
like situation whose landed property in warri metropolis are acquired
through inheritance for a period spanning 600 – 650 years. He also
disclosed that the father of the present Olu was a tenant of okere
Urhobo clan. Warri as confirmed by the consent judgement in suit number w
28/65 and situated that thuse is nothing like warri kingdom but there
is okere Urhobos egbama, Ogbeh – Ijoh, Abavamatu, Agbara and itsekiri
kingdoms, all in former warri local government area and each of these
have their own homelands.
The ijaws maintain their
claims in statement by chief E.K clark, that the olu and the itsekiri’s
who claim to be leaders of though have no land in warri metropolis and
their place is Ode – itsekiri.
He also stated that the ijaws
are the bonafide indigenes of warri, the ijaws were already there and it
was called ogbe – ijoh village and was support by citing confessional
statement by the late chief Dore Numaa, an itsekiri leader in 1923.
To understand clearly the
location of both the ijaw and itsekiri communities it is necessary to
study the map attached to this study in page 1. The ijaw /Itsekiri
communities are location in Delta state and Delta state was carved out
of the old Bendel state.
According to the west by the
ijaws and itsekiri in the north by the Benin in Edo state and in the
South by Isoko and the Ijaw. There is also vital issue that is worthy of
note also and that is issue of lease.
LEASE AGREEMENT FROM 1898 – 1930’s
In 1906 Ogbeh – ijoh in warri
urban areas was leased to the British colonial government by itsekiri
chiefs at an annual rent of 100 pounds for 99years.
Alders Wilkey and pessy towns (Now Davdu) were leased by itsekiri chiefs in 1908 at an annual rent of 60 pounds. On 5th
February 1911, itsekiri chiefs of the colonial government at an annual
rent of 30 pounds leased Agbassa village. These three important leased
were existed by chief Dore and Ogbe Yowuren on behalf of itsekiri people
as olu representative on 5th October 1904, late Ogbe Yowuren
an itsekiri chief and depaty of chief Dopre, as Olu representative
granted a parcel of land to masser john Holt and inconsideration of the
surrender of the said lease by the grant the said chief ogbe made
another grant to the said John Holt on 16th October 1911.
On 5th February,
chief Dopre Oghe and Egbegbe all itsekiri chief people granted apart of
warri Land to messer. African Traders company, the deed of which was
registered as 15/1907 in the registry of deeds calabar and on 6th 1918 the said lease was assigned to messer. John Holt and company (liver pool) ltd. And registered accordingly.
On 6th July 1908,
chief Dore acting as Olu representing granted a parcel of land at warri
to Rollard Harvis Dewetty acting as Aitorney of German firm, know as
masser pangentecher and co. the said lease was later assigned to messer.
John Holt and co. (Liver pool) ltd. In October 1917, No wonder chief
pessu said in 1922, that it was chief Dora one had to go for a lease in
warri. If one desires to have it a British company messer. African
Association to him to obtain a lease of a part of warri in 1898. also he
made a grant of an adjoining land to another Brish company messer.
Miller Brother in 1901. The two companies were taking over by UAC ltd.
In 1979 and 1958, the Olu of warri granted to UAC a revised lease of the above name two leases.
In 1900, the colonial
government of Nigeria applied for and by 1901, was granted a large
parcel of land known as “NWKI WARRI” on yearly oriental basic for a term
of 99 years for the purpose of building residential quarters, barracks
The deed of this grant was
sign by chief Dopre and ogbe for and on behalf of themselves and the
itsekiri people. No wander justice webber in 1926 in the case of ometain
against chief Dorte said in terralia.
The defendant (Dopre) as a
successor to the olu of jekris and the paramount chief of the jekris has
exercised… socereign rights over all there lands.
Moro so in 1922, prima pendo
and other as descendants of olu Akengbyna I, sued chief Dopre over the
control of that parcel of land in warri known as ogbeh – ijoh and
Aider’s town and terranded and account of rents received by him from the
ten colonial government of Nigeria in respect to the said lands.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The relocation of warri south local government headquarters from ogbeh – ijoh to Ogidigbeh in 13th
March 1997 by the military government of Late general Sani Abacha.
Other News reports on the announcement follows broadcast by the media
resulted to protest sand demonstration by ogbeh – ijoh people.
More so mass media’s function is to
educate the masses, especially the conflicting communities on the
negative implications of such crisis.
Persuasion function is another function
of the mass media. The masses should be persuaded to eschew violence and
embrace peace, Organising special programmes for the paper to watch can
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Therefore, the aim of this study is to
defermine the contribution of the mass media in the resolution of ijaw /
itsekiri crisis. More so, examine if mass media Organised specific c
programme to help resolve the crisis, if there is any specific programme
designed for that purpose, the extent met the need of feuding
communities and helped to resolve the crisis.
Therefore, these are the areas to be determining by this study.
The effort mass media made to improve
the socio-economic and political development of both communities is
equally to be determine by this study.
More so, there are aims/objectives of
media if the society is deprived of media, the society will mostly feel
the impact of the observe of the media.
Therefore, the extent, which the media
can help the society is a vital issue. The individual is placed in a
certain social/physical environment, which he assimilates through a
higher form of perceptions stocking item later in his memory where they
make up the actual content of his brain at each moment. The main
channel, which acts as a relay between the environment and the
individual, are the mass media.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
These research questions will
reflect in the questionnaire. Responses will be elucted from the
respondents in order to confirm where mass media played any role in the
resolution of ogbeh – ijoh/itsekiri crisis the research question are:
1) What specific programme has the mass media organized to change attitude and behaviour of the conflicting communities?
2) What has been the contribution of the mass media in the resolution of ijaw/itsekiri crisis?
3) Did these programmes meet the needs of the feuding communities?
4) Did mass media report grievance of the communities or is it only when there are conflicts?
5) Does mass media care about the grievances of the communities’ remote causes of conflit?
6) What effort has mass media made to improve the soci-economic and political development of both communities?
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
To effectively ascertain the
role of mass media in crisis resolution of ijaw / itsekiri crisis the
following hypothesis was tested.
H1: The mass media had not contributed meaningfully to the resolution of ijaws / itsekiri’s crisis.
H0: The mass media contributed meaningfully to the resolution of ijaws / itsekiri crisis.
H2: The mass media have not organized programmes to change attitude and behaviour of conflicting communities.
H0: The mass media organized programmes to change attitude and behaviour of conflicting communities.
H3: The mass media does not care’s about the grievance of the communities.
H0: The mass media does not care about the grievances of the communities only when there are conflicting.
H4: The mass media care about the grievances of the communities only when there are conflicting
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS RELOCATION
According to the Advanced learner’s
Dictionary relocation is the moving into a new place or area the
relocation of population, the has to do with the compulsory evacuation
with resettlement in a New area.