A coalition of Itsekiri groups on Thursday took to major streets of Warri metropolis in a peaceful protest demanding the Chairmanship of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission which they claimed should be granted to the Itsekiri ethnic nationality.
The protesters, in their hundreds, comprised members of the Itsekiri Interest Group, Itsekiri Freedom Congress, Itsekiri Liberation Group, Itsekiri Coalition for Good Governance, Iwere Women Consultative Forum led by Madam Queen Eweto and the National Association of Itsekiri Students, among others.
Armed with placards with various inscriptions, the coalition groups kicked off from the Palace field of the Olu of Warri, with a brief stop at the palace entrance chanting various protest songs before stoping over at Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor Ajamimogha office.
They addressed journalists and handed over their demands to the Director of Medrick Cultural Centre, Mr. Frank Uromieyaghan for onward transmission to Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, the Igba of Warri Kingdom.
Their leaders who spoke with newsmen during the protest included Mr. Gbubemi Awala, President of Itsekiri Interest Group; Mone Oris, leader of Itsekiri Liberation Group and Mr. Mathew Igiogio, leader of Itsekiri Freedom Congress respectively.
They expressed regret that no Itsekiri person has ever been made the head of the intervention agency in spite of being the highest oil and gas producing ethnic nationality in Delta State.
Consequently, they appealed to the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse 111 and Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor to use their positions to impress on the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) “to appoint an Itsekiri person this time around, applying the provisions of the NDDC Act as guide”.
The Itsekiri coalition groups submitted that they have been reticent for too long and would resort to self-help if their demands are not met, just as they noted that the authorities appeared to be taking them for granted while yielding to the demands of other violent groups in the country.
Mr. Frank Uromieyaghan, while receiving the protest letter on behalf of Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, thanked the coalition groups for their peaceful disposition saying their demands were legitimate.
He assured that the protest letter would be promptly delivered to his principal for onward transmission to the relevant authorities on the need to do the needful.