Twenty one years after, sacked Delta community begs governor for relocation to ancestral home


Twenty one years after they were sacked from their ancestral home during a violent crisis between two of their neighbours, the Ogbe-Ijoh and the Aladja, the people of Diebiri in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to facilitate their return to the community.
The Diebiri people who have now relocated to Batan, lamented that since 1995 when they were ejected from their community by the fighting between their two warring neighbours, they had been living as refugees in a strange land.
They said that the demand for their return to their original settlement had now become imperative, having written series of letters to successive governments in the state without recording any success.
The state government under the administration of Governor Okowa had recently set up a panel of inquiry into another crisis between the two warring communities of Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri South West Local Government Area and Aladja in Udu Local Government Area, without allegedly considering the plight of the people of Diebiri affected by the development.
Our correspondent gathered that over 40,000 barrels of crude are produced from oil wells located in the community by various oil exploration companies.
But inspite of the ongoing oil exploration activities in the area, our correspondent also learnt that the community currently lacks basic amenities such as schools, health facilities and pipeborne water. Despite ongoing exploration of oil in the area, there are no basic amenities, such as schools, health facilities and pipe-borne water.
The Diebiri people have, however, argued that the state government should have resettled them in their ancestral home first before setting up a panel to look into the case of their two warring neighbours.
The paramount ruler of Diebiri Kingdom, James Orubu, in an exclusive chat with our correspondent in Warri said that since 1995 when the crisis between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja began, his people and community had suffered a great loss to the attacks by the two warring communities.
Orubu said that the incessant attacks on Diebiri later culminated in the outright sack of the kingdom 21 years ago, adding that the community had since been neglected, despite being an oil-producing area.
The traditional ruler noted that although the development led to the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry by the then military administrator, Ibrahim Kefas, nothing had been done till date by successive governments to help the situation.
He stressed that despite several petitions and position papers sent to the government to help provide protection and rebuild the devastated Kingdom, the situation had remained the same.
Orubu said, “Ever since the genocide, we have written several letters to successive governors and also to the present Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, without any positive action. But we were surprised to hear that he has set up a commission of inquiry to settle the land dispute between Ogbe- Ijoh and Aladja people.