Some Ijaw inhabitants and their Itsekiri’s neighbours in Delta State have locked horns over the ownership of the location, where the Nigerian Maritime University is sited and with the latter citing a Supreme Court judgment, affirming their ownership of the area.
This has generated a lot of reactions including from the Federal Government as the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami in a memo to the clerk of the National Assembly, on October 17, 2017, advised the National Assembly to change the name of the location of the Maritime University, from Okerenkoko, to Okerenghigho.
In this controversy, prominent Niger Delta activist from Gbaramatu in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, High Chief Micheal Johnny condemned the purported memo emanating from the AGF.
Johnny, who is also a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, accused the AGF of deliberately trying to cause a fresh crisis in Niger Delta.
“Malami’s advise as contained in his memo to the National Assembly to rename the location of Nigerian Maritime University from Okerenkoko, to Okerenghigho is mischievous and taken to deliberately want to cause a fresh crisis between the Ijaws of Gbaramatu kingdom and our Itsekiri brothers in Warri South West local government area of Delta State.
“I am an Ijaw man from Okerenkoko, where the Maritime University is located, the Itsekiri people cannot claim ownership of Ijaw land for whatever reason,” Johnny, who is also the immediate chairman, Egbema Gbaramatu communities said.
Reacting to this development, President of Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Agbateyiniro Weyinmi says the decision of the Supreme Court has become a law, adding that the world is watching to see the outcome which has become a test case for the National Assembly.
The Maritime University, which was established by Former President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2015 has suffered a lot of setbacks with litigations and accusations. It took a lot of lobbying and perhaps even the resumption of hostilities in the Niger Delta region before an approval was given for its take off
The Itsekiri leaders called on the Senate to relocate the institution to Okerenghigho in Omadino community, saying the movement is imperative and in consonance with a valid court judgment supporting their claims.