The Ijaw and Itsekiri ethnic nationalities in Delta State, are set for a fresh showdown over the execution of the $16 billion Ogidigben Gas City Project in the state.

Already, President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the project located in Ogidigben community, Warri South-west local government area on June 23, 2014.

Leadership learnt that while the Itsekiri are enthusiastic about the take-off of the project, the Ijaw have asked Jonathan to tarry on the scheduled groundbreaking ceremony.

The Ijaw leaders of Gbaramatu stock in the state warned their kinsman against a hasty take-off of the project before the resolution of some knotty issues bordering on the naming of the project and benefits accruing to them.

The gas city is a public-private partnership project involving the federal government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, working with private investors and the Delta state government.

The first in the country, the project is expected to host three major components, a gas processing plant, a fertiliser plant and a petrochemical plant. Apart from the three projects, there is going to be a big housing estate and a deep sea port to be constructed by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).

However, the Ijaw and Itsekiri groups have dispatched protest letters to the federal government canvassing divergent positions on the project.

They were engaged in a bloody crisis which led to loss of many lives and destruction of valuable property, including oil platforms, from 1997 to 2003, over the citing of a local government headquarters at the same Ogidigben community by the federal authorities.

Specifically, the Ijaw in the petition to Jonathan signed by seven leaders of Gbaramatu kingdom, also in Warri South-west LGA, rejected the naming of the project after an Itsekiri community.

Article Source: Delta Herald

WARRI - Principal Consultant to Environmental Restoration Foundation of Nigeria, ERFON, Mr. David Omaghomi, has cautioned Ijaw and Itsekiri groups engaged in media war over ownership of the land on which the Export Processing Zone, EPZ, project is located in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, to desist forthwith to avoid fresh crisis in Warri and its environs.

Omaghomi, a chieftain of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, said in Warri that the call had become imperative, following the spate of recent media offensive between groups such as the Gbaramatu Council of Chiefs, Warri Ijaw Peace Majority Group, WIPMG, Itsekiri Patriotic Alliance, IPA, Itsekiri Consolidated Movement, ICM and some individuals from both ethnic nationalities.

Speaking through his media aide, Ebipade Omatseye, in Warri, Omaghomi, said: “There is need for all stakeholders across ethnic divides to be extremely cautious in their conduct and utterances, so as not to abort the legacy of EPZ project as well as plunge Warri into a fresh round of senseless crisis over contentious claims.

“It is unfortunate that pockets of Ijaw and Itsekiri groups will patronise pages of newspapers to create deliberate disharmony between our ethnic nationalities which suffer the same regrettable environmental and development challenges because of a legacy project that President Goodluck Jonathan has thought wise to bring to Delta State to open up the coastal communities to global standards.

“Everyone must be very careful, especially against the backdrop of the fact that crises in the past between the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo in Warri area had often been triggered by media vituperators.”

Omaghomi said that rather than brawl for petty morsels in the EPZ project in the name of community or ethnic beef, all stakeholders should close ranks and work together towards the actualisation of the project, “because its benefit in terms of job creation, industrialisation and infrastructural development are so monumental,” that every Niger Deltan will be a proud beneficiary.

Article Source: Vanguard

The Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, has asked former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, to continue the prosecution of his gubernatorial ambition with dignity and honor that characterise it.

The group said that what mattered was for a competent person to mount the saddle after Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and continue to pursue developmental programmes in the state. The Itsekiri leaders, when they hosted Orubebe to an interactive season on his governorship ambition, said all the people of the state share the same environment and characteristics that bind them always.

Speaking earlier, Orubebe commended members of the committee, led by Chief J. Ayomike, describing them as precursors of peace in Delta State. He assured them that as an aspirant, he was pursuing his ambition very seriously as he had already developed a roadmap which encompasses all the programmes he will implement if elected as governor.

Article Source: Vanguard