|Urhobo Historical Society
THE problems in the Niger Delta stem from the policies and implementation of Federal Government political iniquities:
The Federal Government's activities indicate that oil producing areas are just colonies to be exploited as a result of the Land Use Decree. The Federal Government of Nigeria in the Niger Delta instigates fighting to ensure Federal Government exploitation to prevent concerted demand from the people of the area. Hence today the true Delta State comprising the Old Delta province has not been created and Warri remains the only provincial capital of colonial times that is not a capital of a state. Anioma was excised from Benin Province and turned into a state but it is called Delta State with capital at Asaba. Delta State has not yet been created.
The Federal Government has supported the Olu of Warri over the ages to establish discriminatory institutions in Warri since 1950 when he moved from Ode Itsekiri in Escravos to Warri. The Federal Government supports the determination of the Olu who is actually a descendant of one exiled Benin Prince to establish a domain in Warri to compare with Benin Kingdom. The reaction of Urhobo and Ijaw led to the change of Warri Province to Delta Province, when Awolowo changed the title of Olu of Itsekiri to Olu of Warri Province to become the only traditional ruler in Warri province. The Itsekiri language is an Ilaje dialect. The titles of Olu and Atuwese were given at Ilaje in Ijebu before arrival in Warri. If Dasuki who was exiled from Sokoto to Taraba State, was allowed to stay in Taraba State a similar Warri situation would have been created.
Warri is a small area established in 1926 as a result of a Privy Council decision in London before the arrival of the Itsekiris in the area. Warri was a crown land for British administration in Warri Province, later Delta Province. Awolowo later extended the boundary of Warri township to include the owners of the land i.e. Agbasa and Igbudu people who were made to pay ground rent to the Olu in 1952. The situation was restored in 1966 by the Midwestern Region Military Governor. The land Awolowo gave to the Olu was claimed back by the traditional owners through a court action. The original founders of Warri, that is the Urhobos and Ijaws, now own their lands in Warri legally.
The local governments around Warri town are called Warri North Local Government Area, Warri South Local Government Area and Warri South-West Local Government Area. The Olu claims control of these three LGAs because of the name Warri attached to them. Hence the Olu connives with the oil companies to collect money and gratifications offered by the oil companies operating in the three LGAs without recourse to Ijaws who own the land in the riverine areas between Warri and Escravos. Urhobos and Ijaws are not employed in the Local Government. The Federal Government tells the Ijaws that the land and the minerals, that is oil, belong to the federal government but yet allows only the Olu to reap all the benefits from the oil companies. The neglected Ijaw and Urbobo youths in the area are not employed by the oil companies. The oil companies employ only Itsekiri, Ibo and Yoruba youths mainly through the advice of the Olu.
The neglected youths who can no longer be assisted by their fathers have since discovered that they have to fight for their existence. The arms given to them by the politicians who have now ignored them after election are now being used for armed robbery, under the cover of the purported Warri problem. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party does not support the idea of a democratic government. Hence, it interferes with Local Government administration so as to continue with its unitary system of government.
From the above, you can deduct that the problems of Warri are caused by the Federal and State Governments through their support for the Olu to oppress the original owners of the land and to rubbish the sanity of the area with activities of the politically armed rebellious youth.
However, the problems can be addressed through a sober consideration of the following measures:
The area boys should be gainfully employed to stop them from using their politically acquired arms for terrorising innocent people and stealing under the cover of Warri problems.