Western Ijaw And Her Itsekiri Neighbor In Pre-Colonial Period

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

Western Ijaw And Her Itsekiri Neighbor In Pre-Colonial Period


Abstract


The Ijaw and Itsekiri are two of the closest neighbours in the Warri area of the Western Niger Delta region of Nigeria. They have intermarried and had lived together for centuries. But towards the close of the last century, the two groups clashed, ostensibly over the relocation of the headquarters of the then newly created Warri South (later Warri South-West) Local Goverment Area in the present Delta State from Ogbe-Ijoh (an Ijo town) to Ogidigben (an Itsekiri town) by the late General Sani Abacha – led Federal Military Government of the time. During the crisis which claimed many lives and property, and destroyed many private and public businesses, the two groups fought each other with all kinds of dangerous and sophisticated weapons. This situation had made many well-meaning people to ask whether there were longstanding grievances between the two groups. The available records reveal that there were, indeed, deep-rooted grievances between the two groups. These problems however started from the colonial period in Nigeria. Before then, the two groups had lived peacefully together. This is the picture this study attempts to document.


Chapter Five


Conclusion

The Ijo and Itsekiri are two of the closest neighbours in the Warri area of the Western Niger Delta region of Nigeria. They have intermarried and had lived together for centuries. But towards the close of the last century, the two groups clashed, ostensibly over the relocation of the headquarters of the then newly created Warri South (later Warri South-West) Local Goverment Area in the present Delta State from Ogbe-Ijoh (an Ijo town) to Ogidigben (an Itsekiri town) by the late General Sani Abacha – led Federal Military Government of the time. During the crisis which claimed many lives and property, and destroyed many private and public businesses, the two groups fought each other with all kinds of dangerous and sophisticated weapons. This situation had made many well-meaning people to ask whether there were longstanding grievances between the two groups. The available records reveal that there were, indeed, deeprooted grievances between the two groups. These problems however started from the colonial period in Nigeria.

However It is clear from the expositions above that the Ijo and Itsekiri had lived peacefully together in precolonial times. It was the advent of the Europeans with their new forms of trade, religion, education, and government that caused hostilities between the two groups in the Warri area of the Western Niger Delta region of Nigeria.


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