Ijaw community in Ondo decries exclusion from Niger Delta projects

Leaders of the Furupagha-Ijaw Kingdom in the Odigbo Council area of Ondo State, have decried their exclusion from the developmental programmes of the Niger Delta and oil-producing areas of the State.

They pleaded with governor Rotimi Akeredolu to henceforth ensure their inclusion in the Niger Delta Projects.

A statement on behalf of the Kingdom by the Ibe- Okusuwei/ Opo-Odusu of Furupagha-Ijaw Kingdom, Hon Emmanuel Odushu noted the giant strides of the Akeredolu administration particularly in roads development which included construction, rehabilitation and dualisation of roads in several parts of the state.

They therefore called on the government to construct the Asejire-Iyaradina-Ebijaw road through which the Furupagha-Ijaw territory would be linked with the rest of the state and country.

The statement said that the Furupagha-Ijaw is the third Ijaw group in Ondo State, the two others being the Apoi and Arogbo Ijaws of Ese-Odo Local Government.

” The Furupagha-Ijaw is a large area of riverine and land communities which constitute the Ebijaw Ward and others in the riverine and Niger Delta areas of the Odigbo Local Government and include Ebijaw, Iyaradina, Temewei-Zion, Taribo, Gbenuwei, Otumaragbene, Niakemiama, Odushuama, Ukuregbene, Abadigbene, Kofoama, Makporo, Ikiodoama, Jameskiri, Ugoyeghaama, Ugboama, Sokoroama, Yenemogbene and many other farm settlements such as Sule, Ladosa, Odokoro, Obajare, Itamerin Bolounduro, Aba Sule, Obasasa, Okunrin, Oladapo Orisunmbare, Owosunmomi, Rubber Estate, with the ancestral headquarters at Iyaradina which is strategically located among the communities.

Odushu said, apart from the aboriginal Furupagha-Ijaw people, the Kingdom also has residents from other Ijaw clans and Yoruba groups, mainly from Oyo, Osun and Kwara States who are involved in varied farming activities and who are all living in peace and unity.

According to him “the Furupagha-Ijaw enjoyed independent political existence from time immemorial, a position they were met by the Portuguese in the 15th century and with whom they enjoyed extensive trade relationships in their communities along the Siloko River and the adjoining creeks.

He noted that the creation of Provinces in 1915, as part of the British colonial administration, balkanised the Furupagha-Ijaw between the Benin and Ondo Provinces, using the Siloko and Owena Rivers as boundaries.

According to the community leader, who was a Councillor in the old Ondo Division, before the creation of Ondo State, Furupagha-Ijaw lives in the same environment as the Arogbo Ijaw, the Ijaw- Apoi, and the Yoruba Ilaje.

He regretted “the inexplicable exclusion of the Furupagha-Ijaw from government programmes, through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), the Amnesty Programme and other developmental programmes enjoyed by these other groups as part of the Niger Delta area of the State.

Odushu lamented that “it was double jeopardy for the Furupagha-Ijaw of Ondo State that such programmes were also ironically enjoyed by the Furupagha-Ijaw just across the Siloko river who are classified as part of the Niger Delta area of Edo State.

While congratulating Governor Akeredolu and his Deputy on their victory at the Supreme Court, the community leader noted that the verdict of the final court was a veritable validation of the mandate delivered by the people at the gubernatorial election held October last year and the endorsement of the programmes and policies of the administration.

The statement pleaded with the government to formally approve the appointment of the traditional ruler of the Furupagha-Ijaw Kingdom as part of the overall strategies of the development of the area.

Source:- Vanguard

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