By Tejiri Ebikeme

THE Seipakumor of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, Lt. Col  Satchie Etoromi (rtd.), yesterday, asked Ijaw and Itsekiri leaders to stop making provocative statements in breach of the agreement of both ethnic groups on the $16 billion Export Processing Zone, EPZ project.

 Speaking to our correspondent in his office in Warri,  Etoromi, who is of Itsekiri parentage, said he was taken aback that both Itsekiri and Ijaw indigenes had thrown caution to the wind in their statements and publications.

 He asserted, “I am surprised that within these last few days, so many statements were being made by Itsekiri and Ijaw people even when the leaders met on November 24 and agreed that there will be no publication so as not to aggravate the already tense situation.”

“We should check our utterances so not to worsen the situation. I am an Itsekiri with Ijaw mother, Itsekiri and Ijaw are brothers and sisters, and we should stop attacking ourselves, but resolve the matter as one people.

“Young men should stop making statements on the EPZ without consulting their elders to know their stand before going public on the matters they are talking about, “he added.

Etoromi asserted, “The Ijaws were in Ikpokpo before the Itsekiri came to live with them and intermarry in that place. We, the elders know this as a fact and it is in the interest of peace for people not to hide under fraudulently obtained judgment to claim ownership of somebody else’s land.”

He said the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought in a letter by Chief E.N.A Begho and others, dated, December 29, 1984, to the former military governor of Bendel State, said, “The Itsekiris agreed that they (Ijaws) were allowed to go with the Itsekiri lands which they occupied. This was the price the Itsekiris had to pay in the interest of peace and progress in the WarriDivision.”

The former Director of Operations, Army Headquarters,said he was therefore dumbfounded why the Itsekiri were making trouble with Ijaw over Ikpokpo, which the Ijaw had being in possession of long ago.