By Isaac Olamikan, Senior Correspondent, Benin
Benin Solidarity Movement(BSM) has reacted to a recent statement credited to the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative(IPDI) giving its support to an earlier threat by the Niger Delta (NDF) to attack Edo State if their demand for recognition by the state government and the Oba of Benin is not met.
In a statement signed jointly by Comrade Curtis Ugbo and Machiavelli, the BSM warned the IPDI, the self-styled Ijaw militants and their collaborators to desist from their actions or else face reprisals.
“From the language used by the so called IPDI it is obvious that some earlier statements of threats and insults directed towards Edo people, Edo State Government, Governor Obaseki and the Benin monarch which are credited to the self-styled Ijaw militants all have the support of IPDI and majority of their kinsmen,” BSM stated
According to the BSM, “for IPDI to plead with the Ijaw militants to ‘dry up their gunpowder’ is a way of making them feel important but we wish to state categorically for the umpteenth time that they do not have monopoly of violence.
“History is awash with the exploits of great Benin warriors who go as far as other domains to unleash terror and come out victorious in battle. Pleading with the self-styled Ijaw militants, who operate under the banner of the Niger Delta Forum, NDF, to ‘dry up their gunpowder’ is a needless exercise which we will tackle at the appropriate time.
“It is a sad tale for the IPDI to call on Governor Obaseki ‘to act fast by implementing the demands made by the militant group.’
“Under which authority is the nefarious NDF and the shadowy IPDI making such ridiculous demands on Governor Obaseki?
“We want to know when the term ‘Edo Ijaws’ sneaked into the lexicon of the Ijaws living in Edo State? Does it mean that we now have ‘Edo Igbo’, ‘Edo Yoruba’, ‘Edo Calabar’, ‘Edo Hausa’, ‘Edo Europeans’ or even ‘Bayelsa Tivs’?
“The oil resources that is on Edo soil is the treasure of Edo State placed in our soil by God and for Ijaw people residing in the state to say that they produce it is absurd.
“EDSOPADEC is an agency established to cater for the needs of oil producing communities in Edo State. For IPDI, NDF and their sponsors to seek to have a say in its affairs is like Benin Solidarity Movement or Arewa Consultative Forum insisting on their members being appointed on the board of the DESOPADEC.
“The IPDI, NDF and their sponsors/supporters should henceforth cease their ill-bred mannerism of challenging the authority of the Benin monarch. They should extend the kind of reverence they accord Ijaw monarchs to the Benin monarchy.
“If the above instruction is not adhered to by the IPDI, NDF and their cohorts the consequences on them would be better imagined.
“Our hospitality should not be misconstrued as an act of cowardice. We hold the ace!”