From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Protests have greeted the delineation of wards in some parts of Delta State by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) ahead of local government elections scheduled for March 6, 2021.
DSIEC had recently created 34 new state wards, bringing the total to 500.
But the people of Ogbe-Ijoh urban communities in Warri South Local Government Area of the state have rejected the delineation, saying that they were marginalised.
Bearing placards of various inscriptions, the people barricaded the entrance to the Government House gate in Asaba, chanting Ijaw songs with traditional drum beats.
It is the third protest by the aggrieved Ogbe-Ijoh people since the creation of 34 new wards.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, a community leader, Mr Friday Deighan, decried the seeming exclusion of Ijaw people in the recent ward creation in Warri South, lamenting that the council had 19 wards with the Urhobo having nine, the Itsekiiri with 10 and the Ijaw with none.
Saying that it was an act of injustice and aberration to give the only one ward allocated to Warri South council in the recently created wards to the Itsekiri who already had 10 wards, making theirs 11, he called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to review the recent ward creation and give them one ward so as to avoid the break down of law and order.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the State Government, the Delta State Commissioner for Urban Development, Arthur Akpowowo, commended them for the peaceful protest.
Akpowowo, flanked by the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Emmanuel Amgbadugba, and the Commissioner for Energy, Basil Ganagana, said the protest was legitimate and assured that a delegation of 10 persons from the protesters would be invited to dialogue with government on how to best resolve their grievances.