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Itsekiri Leader Sets Record Straight Over UROAGAN’s Presentation at National Assembly

On Thursday, June 27, Chief Dr. Obiuwevbi Ominimini, National Chairman of the Urhobo Oil and Gas Nationality (UROAGAN), presented a compilation of Urhobo oil and gas facilities to distinguished senators and representatives of the Urhobo ethnic nationality at the 10th National Assembly in Abuja. This presentation, which was later circulated on social media, has sparked significant controversy, prompting a detailed rebuttal from Edema Collins Oritsetimeyin, Sole Representative of the Olu of Warri and Liaison to NNPCL.

The Misleading Claims

Addressing misleading claims in his presentation, Chief Dr. Ominimini made several bold claims, including:

  1. Oil and Gas Production Figures: UROAGAN claimed that the Urhobo people possess 350 oil wells, over 15 flow stations, and more than 20 gas flare sites, positioning them as the highest producers of oil and gas in Delta State. However, Edema Collins Oritsetimeyin refuted these figures, highlighting that the Itsekiri people, with extensive oil fields such as Okan, Meji, Meta, and Meren, are the actual highest producers in Delta and Edo States. The Itsekiri fields alone surpass the 350 wells claimed by UROAGAN, with additional significant contributions from fields like Maru, Mefa, Meje, Mesan, Dibi, Olero, Abiteye, and Macaraba.
  2. Geographic Misrepresentations: The presentation erroneously referred to “Agbarah Warri Kingdom” and Okere Urhobo Kingdom. According to Oritsetimeyin, there is no entity named Agbarah Warri Kingdom in Warri Metropolis or Warri South Local Government Area. The Idimi-usobo Kingdom, now called Okere Urhobo, is merely a quarter in Okere Community. Historically, Urhobos in Warri have been customary tenants to the Itsekiris.
  3. Land Transfer Allegations: UROAGAN alleged an unlawful transfer of Ukpokiti land in Warri South to Omadino in Itsekiri territory. Oritsetimeyin dismissed this claim as baseless, emphasizing that Omadino land is clearly within Warri South and Warri South West. The assertion that Agbarah customary tenants now have a community in Omadino land is deemed false and misleading.
  4. DESOPADEC Allocations: UROAGAN claimed that Urhobos are being shortchanged in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) despite being the highest producers of crude oil and gas. Oritsetimeyin countered this, pointing out that DESOPADEC’s governing laws, established under an Urhobo Governor and an Urhobo-dominated State House of Assembly, have always favored the Urhobos. Despite the Itsekiris’ higher production, allocations and board compositions have been skewed in favor of the Urhobos.
  5. NDDC Representation: The claim that Urhobos receive little return from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was also refuted. Oritsetimeyin highlighted that Urhobos have been significant beneficiaries of NDDC appointments and projects, often at the expense of other ethnic nationalities, including the Itsekiris.

The Itsekiri Perspective

Oritsetimeyin emphasized that the Itsekiri people of Warri Kingdom have long been the highest producers of oil and gas in Delta State. The fields within Itsekiri territory far exceed those claimed by UROAGAN. He pointed out that despite their substantial contributions to the Nigerian oil and gas sector, the Itsekiris have faced systemic marginalization in political appointments, project siting, and employment opportunities.

The Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality remains one of the most oppressed, marginalized, and disenfranchised groups in Nigeria, despite being the highest producers of oil and gas. Oritsetimeyin’s detailed rebuttal calls for a critical evaluation of UROAGAN’s claims and a recognition of the historical truths and contributions of the Itsekiri people.

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