As the Ondo state government proposes the creation of local government council areas, LCDAs, the people of Ese-Odo local government have staged a protest, giving the state government 21-day ultimatum to revert ceding of their land to irele and Ilaje councils in the proposed LCDAs.
At the public hearing held by the Ondo state house of assembly on Thursday, the protesting Ijaw, led by their traditional rulers, the Kalasuwei of Apoi land, Prof. Sunday Amuseghan and Agadagba of Arogbo-Ijaw, Pere Zaccheaus Egbunu, said that the whole of Okparama 1 and II and Ogidigba were ceded to Ilaje, while parts of Apoi 4 and 5 were ceded to Irele Council.
The protesters, armed with placards, said more LCDAs should be created out of Ese-Odo Council instead of ceding their land to other councils.
Amuseghan, who vowed to defend any action that would lead to the ceding of their ancestral land, said: “We will never concede one inch of our land to either the Ikale or Ilaje. There is a new Ondo State map that cedes our communities to Ilaje and Irele. The Ondo State government must withdraw that map with immediate effect.
“We are peace-loving people. We want to live in peace with other nationalities in Nigeria, and pray they too should consider this and live in peace with us.”
In his own remarks, Pere Egbunu, who was represented by Ondo Chairman of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Bonsuwei Ominidouha, said: “We are giving them a 21-day ultimatum to withdraw that map. We don’t want to fight with anybody because it was a failure of leadership that caused the Ijaw-Ilaje crisis.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker, who warned that the state government would not hesitate to cancel the creation of any LCDA in any community where there is a crisis or court injunction, said: “In whatever we do today, we should be mindful of the fact that we do it in the eyes of the global community.
“Let me state without mincing words that the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration in Ondo State will not hesitate to cancel or suspend the creation of local council development areas in any community or local council where there is a crisis or court injunction.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and to say anything less than the foregoing is to distort reality.”