12 October 2007

Nigeria: Militant Group Threatens Itsekiri Over Warri North Chairmanship

Warri — ONE of the militant groups in Delta State, the Niger-Delta Freedom Fighters (NDFF), based at Egbema, an Ijaw kingdom in Warri North Local Government Area, has threatened to make the local government riotous for four years, 2007 - 2011, if the Itsekiri ethnic nationality insists on producing the next chairman of the area.

Vanguard learnt that the militant group met and resolved to resist any attempt to install an Itsekiri native as the next chairman of the council. The immediate past chairman is an Itsekiri, Mr. Diden.

An NDFF operative who confirmed the threat told Vanguard on phone yesterday, "The chairmanship seat of Warri North is not an Itsekiri birthright. We want the Itsekiri to have a rethink and give the chairmanship position to an Ijaw person in the area. Let us look at it, the governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is from Warri North and he is an Itsekiri, yet, the Itsekiris want to produce the chairman of the local government. No, they should allow the Ijaws to have a feel of the chairmanship position."

"Since the creation of the Warri North local government, the Itsekiris alone have been producing the chairman. Are they saying that Ijaws are not qualified to produce the chairman of Warri North, this is democracy and power has to be rotated, we will not agree to vice chairmanship position or else, Warri North will not experience peace in the next four years," he added.

However, PDP chairmanship aspirants from the area, one of them, Itsekiri-born Mr. Godwin Ebosa, who also enjoys the support of some Ijaw leaders in the local government, was said to be going about his plans for the local government elections, which the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) has slated for Saturday, December 15, 2007.

Presently, the 25 local government councils in the state are being run by caretaker committees, which were put in place after the expiration of the tenure of office of the former chairmen.

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