WARRI MULTI STAKEHOLDERS PLATFORM HOLDS IJAW, ITSEKIRI PEACEFUL DIALOGUE
By Tetsoma Neyin
The Warri Multi Stakeholders Platform (MSP), a brain-child of the Partnership Initiative for Niger Delta (PIND), has organised a one day intervention programme for peaceful co-existence and sustainable livelihood between the Ijaw and the Itsekiri Ethnic Nationalities.
The impactful event was held on Thursday December 10, 2020 at Hotel Charles David Lot, Warri.
Participants from the two oil producing tribes were in attendance to brainstorm on possible ways to live in peace and harmony.
The Co-Chairmen of Warri MSP, Dr. Jeffery Wilkie and Amb. Meshack Ubabiri spoke on the need for both ethnic groups to live in peace and unity so as to attract more development to their region, saying that despite their huge contribution to the country's economy through their crude oil which is the major source of Nigeria's income, their region is still under developed.
Both Co-Chairmen who are representatives of their ethnic groups in the Warri Multi-Stakeholders Platform collectively appealed to their people to always use dialogue in solving issues at all times.
Dr. Austin Onuoha who spoke extensively during his presentation on “ensuring sustainable livelihood through peaceful co-existence” said that dialogue is a vital key to avoiding conflict.
He admonished the two ethnic groups to build trust amongst themselves, respect and always recognize each other's boundaries.
“There is nothing wrong if Itsekiri and Ijaw disagree, but it is the response that determines the outcome. If you want to peacefully coexist, you must work on your economic development”, he stated.
At the end of the event, a communique which was signed by both groups was issued where they resolved as follows:
That Ijaws and Itsekiris shall henceforth organize more Dialogue Sessions in order to ensure better understanding and relationship between the ethnic groups.
That Ijaws and Itsekiris shall henceforth join together to engage governments at all levels to ensure development of the two ethnic groups in particular and Delta state in general.
The two ethnic groups urged governments at all levels to develop policy and legal framework for the establishment, development and management of markets to forestall the kind of misunderstanding that has trailed the issue in the state and elsewhere.
That both in the defunct MDGs and the present SDG, partnership is recognized as key to sustainable development, therefore Ijaws and Itsekiris shall henceforth partner in order to develop their areas.
That since development cannot happen in an atmosphere of rancor, the two ethnic groups shall ensure peaceful co-existence at all times for the development of Delta State and Nigeria.
That they shall reach out to other stakeholders from other ethnic groups to ensure peaceful co-existence for sustainable livelihood.
They commended the co-operation between the two ethnic groups especially during the peak of the pandemic and urged everyone to remain vigilant until the last is seen of COVID-19.
That all Deltans shall co-operate with the State Government and ensure the peaceful and conclusive conduct of the forthcoming local government elections in the state.