We Oppose Attempts at Hijacking Itsekiri Ancestral LAND in Ethiope Local Area of Delta State – Yoruba Groups

Itsekiri Historical Front Issues Warning to Oghara and Mosogar Kingdoms

The Itsekiri Historical Front cautions the Ovie of Oghara, His Royal Majesty Orefe III, and the Ovie of Mosogar Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Uduaka I, over inappropriate publications against His Imperial Majesty, Ogíamè Atuwatsé III CFR, The Olú of Warri Kingdom and their baseless land claims over Itsekiri communities in Ethiope West.

One of the negative effects of removing history from Nigeria’s curriculum is that anyone or tribe can easily come online or in newspapers and give false history about other’s community, and the whole world would applaud them because the history of Nigerian communities has long been removed from schools. But the Itsekiri history have always been properly documented for all interested in history to learn.

This was the foundation that Oghara built their open letter to His Majesty Ogiame Atuwatse III, CFR about their ownership of Efurokpe Community and other itsekiri communities in Ethiope West Local Government Council.

Firstly, the membership and executives of Itsekiri Historical Front would love to clear the air on a few things about this land grabbing attitude of Oghara people.

That Delta State was created from Bendel State on August 27, 1991, and it was in the late 1999, after Chief James Onanefe Ibori became governor of Delta State, that Oghara Community became a kingdom. Oghara and Mosogha were formerly part of the ancient Idjerhe Kingdom. After the emergence of Chief James Ibori as governor, he made Oghara his home a kingdom.

Let’s also note that Ethiope West Local Government Area was established on August 27, 1991, as one of the local government councils in Delta State, Nigeria. Furthermore, the popular Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara, was established through a bill that was signed into law by Governor James Onanefe Ibori in November 2002 on obite ukpagha land. obite ukpagha is an Itsekiri community in Ethiope West Local Government that was oppressed and pushed to the riverbank by James Ibori the then governor of Delta state who is a son from Oghara kingdom.

Let’s make this clear: ownership of communities is not defined by the local government they fall under. This is why Ugbolokposo community is an Itsekiri community under Uvwie Local Government Council and not under Uvwie Kingdom, even though the Ovie and people of Uvwie Kingdom are trying hard to use the influence of the local government to steal Itsekiri land and heritage.

The Itsekiri Communities in Ethiope West have been voiceless for over 30 years since Bendel and Delta State was separated, yet they stood their ground to defend their land. Communities like Efurokpe, Ekwobodo, Ibirifo, Ajatiton, Aja-Uduaghan, Aja-futughe, Obite-ukpagha, Ewuse, Ogunmeyin, Efo, Oyeaja, Ifole, and many other Itsekiri communities under Ethiope West have been politically starved and developmentally oppressed. But all this would change now because their cry of being neglected has been heard. The Itsekiri communities will no longer be oppressed, not anymore.

Efurokpe community in Ethiope West Local Government was founded by Okotie Ijegbo who hails from Ijebu. Efurokpe community, which is an Itsekiri community, was already on the ground in 1027 AD before Omadino and Inorin Community came to the region. The people of Omadino and Inorin in their history noted that they encountered Ijegbo who assisted them to settle down in their current location.

According to Egharevba, Obayemi 1977, who stated that Ijegbo is from Ijebu , current-day Ogun State, they came in the same migration trend of Korobe at Koko. Korobe aboriginals are from the same Ijebu.

Since both majesties, the Ovie of Oghara and the Ovie of Mosogar, are not conversant with their history, it will be our pleasure to teach them about their own history.

The Oghara and Mosogar kingdoms were created by the Ibori-led government less than 23 years ago. Though the Oghara people still forge history of being in existence from 1880 when they left Benin and migrated to Agbara-Otor, on their way to Agbara-Otor, they passed through a land which is now known as and addressed as Oghareki. This is an obvious fallacy. Efurukope people have been on the ground long before then and in trade with their fellow Itsekiris of Ologbo community, Koko community, Omadino community, and others. You can’t own land by mere passing through it when obviously people have lived on the land for ages.

Coming back to the said land and meeting others on the ground also doesn’t transcribe to ownership of the land.

Some of the Urhobo people who came back to the place known as Oghara today are namely; Ogbojere, Ekakabor, Atikpoko, Emeta, Eghoro, and his son called Akojevwe. They had a dispute and moved overnight when they landed in a place called Ogharefe. When the others woke up, they couldn’t find them and decided to trace them down to Ogharefe, and they saw them.

They asked if that is where they were able to run to, and the others said yes, that the oppression was too much. They settled in Oghara but later separated to farm in the surroundings. Ogharefe is made up of five quarters (unoka), namely; Adagboyerin, Edjemounyavwe, Ovade, Ijomi, and Otefe. While Oghareki is made up of two quarters (unoka), namely; Udurhie and Uduaka. The two subclans (Ogharefe and Oghareki) have their own Oguedions.

Now you can see that none of the Itsekiri communities were among the clans or sub-clans of Oghara. This simply shows that the Itsekiris have always been an independent community even before Oghara kingdom was formed. But as a peaceful people, the Itsekiris see no reason to fight the Oghara kingdom when it was formed. This is why the Oghara and Mosogar people want to oppress the Itsekiris and take over their land. It won’t work.

None of the Itsekiri communities in Ethiope West Local Government are under either Oghara kingdom or Mosogar kingdom. All Itsekiri communities are under Warri kingdom.

The communities in Ethiope West being:

  1. Éfúrokpe- Founded by Jegbo circa 1027 AD (11th Century AD), duly affirmed natural aboriginal community status in Warri Kingdom, by His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III, CFR, the Olu of Warri, at the Palace on 10th October 2023.
  2. Óbíté-ükpàghà. Founded in Efurokpe by Ijegbo in the 11th Century AD.
  3. Éwúsé. Founded in Efurokpe by Ijegbo in the 11th Century AD.
  4. Ibírifó Community. Founded by Princess Iyeifo circa 1480 AD (15th Century AD).
  5. Ogúnmèyin. Founded in Ibirifo by Oyeifo in the 15th Century AD.
  6. Ékwóbòdò Community. Founded by Udah circa 1480 AD (15th century AD).
  7. Éfó Community. Founded by Modeoghanran in the 18th Century AD.
  8. Aja-futughe. Founded by Fütüghe Ifiè in the late 18th century AD.
  9. Aja-títon Community. Founded circa 1820 AD (early 19th century AD).
  10. Oyeajà Community (Aja-omôneükänrín). Founded by three uterine brothers: Ômátié, Dèmeyin, and Imoneükänrin circa 1896 AD (late 19th century AD).
  11. Àjà-üduaghan Community. Founded by Uduaghan in the 19th century AD.
  12. Ífólé. Founded by Mene in the 20th Century AD.

Also, in the said publication, the monarchs of Oghara and Mosogar said they wonder how Warri kingdom extended to those areas. It may be that it is due to the fact that his majesties are not aware that even before their ancestors became kings, that Warri kingdom had boundaries only with Benin kingdom and Aboh kingdom only.

This can be confirmed by early European records:

The ancient boundary of the Independent sovereign kingdom of Owerre (Warri) covers both banks of Benin River down to river Calabar. 1678 – 1682 John Barbot

Landolphe’s memoirs 11-1778 “The sovereign of this state owns not only both banks of the Benin river but also all the rivers of these parts as far as the tributaries of the Calabar.”

The ancient kingdom of Warri was vast; its boundaries were cut short due to migration from Benin from which Oghara people also came from. Our boundaries with Benin kingdom were the Itsekiri village of Ologbo.

The Itsekiri communities in Ethiope West are not under either the Oghara, Mosogha, or Idjerhe kingdom. They are independent communities that have been long oppressed with government power. They are all under the kingdom of Warri regardless of geographical location.

Just like an Ijaw village in Delta State is being ruled by an Ijaw king in Bayelsa and even recognized by the state government, is how all Itsekiri communities in Delta State and Edo State are under the Olu of Warri kingdom. And we know the state government has been oppressive towards our people which is why they don’t want to officially recognize the Itsekiris of Delta Central and the Olu of Warri as king of those communities. But we will get there soon.

We would love to use this medium to seek the audience of His Excellency RT Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the Governor of Delta State, to call the Ovie of Oghara, His Royal Majesty Orefe III, and the Ovie of Mosogar kingdom, His Royal Majesty Uduaka I, to order before this builds another round of crisis like the Okuama and Okoloba issue calling for national sympathy right now.


Comdr Lily-white O. Esigbone
Itsekiri Historical Front

Comdr Silva Samuel Maku
Itsekiri Historical Front

Comdr Kwame Woode
Itsekiri Historical Front

Abayomi Olukunle

Alliance for Yoruba Democratic Movements, AYDM

Ahmed Akorede

Apapo Oodua Koya, AOKOYA