By Monday EBALU, Benin City

The leadership of Ijaw Youths Council and elders of Ijaw Olodiama Clan have warned against being dragged into bloodbath by those deliberating on the ownership of the oil rich community of Gelegele .
The warning came as some people alleged to be youths of the Benin nation tried to erect the Palace of the Okao {leader} of Gelegele at the entrance of the community a few days ago.
After a meeting which lasted for several hours at Gelegele, the Ijaws said, restrain should be exercised by all parties to avoid going into unnecessary shedding of blood.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting,the leader of Ijaw youths, Barr. Eric Omare, said, ” the Ijaws are owners of Gelegele community as they have dwelt there from time immemorial, and have been neighbors to the Benins with whom they have enjoyed cordial relationship”.

According to him, ” trouble started when Edo State was created thus splitting the Ijaws into a minority group and the discovery of oil in Gelegele not helping matters, the meeting “.

He said, ” the question where the Gelegele Ijaws come from was unnecessary and should not arise. The tag of the Ijaws as settlers and strangers by the Benins and their recent agitation to claim ownership of the land. A situation if not well handled, could snowball into high scale crisis.

Omare added that, ” the Ijaws are not against Edo State government proposed sea port development in Gelegele as it will be for the good of all stakeholders”

He therefore appealed to the government and Benin Monarch to prevail on those beating the drums of war to sheathe their sword so that the proposed sea port project can come to reality for the good of everyone.

They however warned that their position of peaceful resolution of the issues in contention is not in any way a sign of weakness, adding if pushed to the extreme, the Ijaws have the capacity to hold forth.

Recently, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki commissioned a technical committee for the implementation of the Gelegele seaport.

Soon after, agitation for the ownership of the land erupted from all sides, with the Benin National Council issuing press statement to the effect, after series of protest by youth groups against the Ijaws of Gelegele.

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