European Influence in Ijo-Itsekiri Relations in Nigeria
AbstractThere is currently an uneasy calm in the Ijo-Itsekiri area of the Western Niger Delta. The two groups have intermarried, and had lived together for centuries. But towards the end of the last century, the two groups clashed, ostensibly over the relocation of the headquarters of the then newly created Warri South (later Warri South-West) Local Government Area from Ogbe-Ijoh (an Ijo town) to Ogidigben (an Itsekiri town). During the crisis, the two groups had employed all types of dangerous and sophisticated weapons against each other. This development had made many well-meaning persons to wonder if there were longstanding grievances between them. This article underscores the fact that there was, indeed, deep-noted bitterness between the two groups, dating back to the period of European contact with Nigeria from the 15th Century. the hostilities started with the introduction of new forms of trade, religion, education, government etc. because of space, this article concentrates on three major areas, namely, trade, education, and land acquisition and ownership. The article is produced mainly from written sources.
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