‘Forgive us for we have sinned’

A group, South-South Coalition Ijaw Leadership Group, has appealed to the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, to forgive them over claims by some groups of Ijaw coalition, accusing him (Oba Ewuare II) of forcefully taking and building on their lands in Gelegele, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.

Chairman of the coalition, General Pere Ejune, made the appeal during a press briefing in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

“The Ijaw and Beni have never one day had any contentious issue or argument. We are brothers and sisters.

“We are pleading with the Oba to use his exalted position to forgive the brains behind the offensive publication so as to foster peace and unity in Edo State. We are loyal to the Oba of Benin,” Ejune said.

He described as false, the group’s alleged claim in a petition forwarded to the Presidency and security agencies that two Ijaw children, a boy, and a girl were missing since the alleged invasion of the community by soldiers and policemen purportedly acting on the orders of the Oba of Benin.

Ejune, while condemning the publication, said the allegations levelled against the Oba were not pleasant to the ears and therefore cautioned those spreading the false allegations to desist from them forthwith.

He said the Ijaw and the Beni are one as far as Edo State is concerned, noting that if the Ijaw can build estates in Benin City, there is nothing stopping the Beni from doing same in the Ijaw-dominated areas.

“We the South-South Coalition Ijaw Leadership Group are categorically condemning the publication against the Oba. We are also telling this group of petitioners and advising them to stop bringing false allegations with the intent of causing disaffection in the peaceful Edo riverine communities.

“We (the Beni and the Ijaw) have been together from the days of the old Western region to Midwestern region, Bendel State and now Edo State,” he said.

While begging the Oba to forgive them, he said: “The Oba is a father of everybody in Edo State. He can go to any of the communities to develop the place or establish any infrastructure as he so desires.”

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