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Tension, as former militants rally round Ijaws over 14-day ultimatum quit notice

THERE’S palpable tension brewing in Delta State as former Ijaw militants from across the Niger Delta region are meeting Friday to decide on the 14-day ultimatum handed Ijaws domiciled in Udu by Urhobos of Aladja in Udu Local Government Area.

The Urhobos of Aladja had, a few days ago, issued a 14-day quit notice to all Ijaws resident in the community or await the consequences.

The debacle is at the instance of a lingering, age-long boundary dispute between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities, which has almost devoid solutions.

This has recently degenerated into accusations and counter accusations of alleged kidnappings on both sides of the divide.

A decision on the lingering impasse between the Ijaws and Urhobos, a statement has said, would be taken on the 14-day ultimatum given by the Urhobos to the Ijaws resident in Aladja.

This was contained in a joint press statement signed by Gen Kemepade James, Delta. Gen Famugben Weneboke, Bayelsa. Gen Suru Opia, Edo. Gen Kelly Owei, Rivers and Gen Ebila Tinkoromo, Ondo on Wednesday.

The group also warned that alleged peaceful moves by the Ijaws to resolve the impasse should not be seen as a sign of weakness, stressing that they can’t fold their hands when things are seemingly taking different dimensions.

Speaking on the relationship between the two tribes, the ex-Ijaw militant leaders maintained that they have had a long standing relationship with the Urhobos, while emphasising that the Aladja, Isaba and Ogbe-Ijoh boundary issue should not throw both ethnic groups into another round of ethnic crisis.

Meanwhile, amid alleged droves of Ijaws already relocating from the area, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Festus Agas, has called for calm on both sides.

The scribe in a statement on Wednesday said leaders of the two ethnic groups and communities had restated their commitment to peace and safety in the area.

“Delta State government, therefore, wishes to reassure all Deltans that there is no threat whatsoever to peace and security in the areas mentioned as the respective communities have given their firm pledge and commitment to this effect.

Deltans in general and members of the affected communities in particular are advised to go about their lawful duties as security agencies will continue to monitor the overall situation in line with their constitutional duties,” Agas assured.