Vanguard (Lagos)

18 November 2012

Nigeria: Constitution Review - Itsekiri Opposes Inclusion in Proposed Toru-Ebe State

Calabar — THE Itsekiri ethnic nationality has opposed the inclusion of Warri which is part of their ancestral land in the proposed Toru-Ebe, saying that such amounts to a forcible annexation of their homeland.

The rejection of their homeland for inclusion in the proposed demand for the creation of Toru Ebe State was in response to the request for the creation of Toru-Ebe State from the present Delta, Edo and Ondo States by the Ijaw nationality.

In a memorandum submitted during the public hearing for the review of the 1999 Constitution for the South-South geo-political zone in Calabar, Cross River State, the Itsekiri ethnic nationality represented by Mr. Edward Ekpoko, Assistant Secretary of Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, the people said that they had helped in the development of Forcados and Burutu, two important Ijaw towns in their homeland.They said, "Itsekiri believes like most minorities in Nigeria today, that the federation as structured is skewed against their interest.

They believe in a complete re-structuring at a conference for greater local autonomy and fiscal control. But it should not be by a forced annexation or recolonization by the Ijaw..Meanwhile, a group from Rivers State is agitating the creation of Sombreiro State out of the present state.

Lagoon State Movement

In a related development, the Chairman of Lagoon State Movement, Mr. Babatunde Olusola Benson, SAN, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to take the creation of more States as one of the most important provisions in the constitution review, stressing that one of the new states must of necessity be Lagoon State.

In a memorandum submitted to members of the House of Representatives in Apapa, Eti-Osa, Epe, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu Federal Constituencies, which are the seven local government areas that make up the proposed state, the legal luminary pointed out that only that could ensure the due representation of Lagos people in a true democratic set up which Nigerians clamour for.

In a memorandum submitted to members of the House of Representatives at a Town Hall Meeting, Benson stressed that the creation of the more states, especially in line with its population and economic viability, would strengthen the structural imbalance in the country's federal arrangement.

Presenting the document to Hon. Dayo Alebiousu at the meeting, held at St Aquinas Catholic Church Hall, Ojota, Lagos, the Group's Media Coordinator, Mr. Obafemi Adesanya said the memorandum was not just the stance of the movement on the review of the constitution but a reflection of the minds of Lagos people.

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