Date of Release of Report: September 24, 1999
Please note that this is a REPORT of the Conference written by the Conveners of the Conference, and not a COMMUNIQUE jointly agreed by the Delegates to the Conference.
Body of the Report
Delegates of the Ijaw, Itsekiri, and Urhobo Communities of North America and Canada met on Saturday, July 24, 1999, at Howard University Washington DC from 8:30 am to about 7:00 pm.
The meeting had been initiated by a call by Dr. Philip Ikomi. Prior to the meeting, after extensive consultations with all the delegates involved, the agenda was agreed as set out in Appendix I, which also includes the list of delegates.
The welcoming and keynote speeches, and the speeches outlining the various positions of the various groups are attached in Appendix II. These initial speeches were held in open session, in the presence of interested members of the communities and other members of the public who came as observers.
Following retirement into closed session, there were very frank discussions. Irreconcilable differences emerged on the following issues:
(i) discussions of the title of the Olu of Warri and status of Warri as immediate or remote causes of the Warri conflict.
This was Sub-items (i) & (ii) of Item (1) under "Discussion Items" of the agenda. The Itsekiri delegation expressed the view that these two issues were legal matters that had already been decided in court, and that any re-openings were best left to the courts, and that they were "too personal" for them as Itsekiri to discuss at the conference. The Urhobo delegation's view was that this was a most important matter for them and that in any case ALL MATTERS of concern should be discussed. The Ijaw delegation members maintained that while the issue of new local governments creation was of most paramount interest to them - an issue which the Itsekiri were willing to discuss - they (the Ijaw delegation) could not see how both the title of Olu of Warri and the status of Warri would then not be issues to be discussed as they are intertwined in the issue of local govt.
After a threatened walk-out by the Itsekiri delegation and prolonged discussions, it was agreed to re-order the agenda items involving the causes of the conflict such that issue of the title of the Olu of Warri and the status of Warri would be fifth and sixth items. [The other causes agreed to be discussed were, in order (a) issue of local government capitals; (b) role of government in the conflict (c) role of oil companies and ecological degradation; (d) influx of arms into the region.] At this point, the Itsekiri delegation stated that it reserved the right to participate or excuse itself from any discussion item, a view agreed to by the other two delegations.
(ii) Whether the communique should only reflect consensus issues.
Following the above compromise, but before any substantive discussions began, the Itsekiri delegation expressed the view that they had in their prior written submission of agenda items, requested that any communique arising from the conference reflect only items on which consensus was reached by all delegates. The Urhobo and Ijaw delegations held the view that ALL views should be reflected, including non-consensus views, should be noted in the communique.
The Itsekiri delegation stated that it could not bring itself to sign
a communique containing issues in which it might not have participated.
Deadlock and an Adjournment
As a result of disagreements over the potential contents of an
anticipated communique from the meeting, the meeting was deadlocked even
before any substantial discussion commenced. It is pertinent to note that
the delegates considered a Communique a potentially vital product of the
conference and as such, they felt that the meeting would be a waste of
time if no communique would be issued at the end of the meeting.
After further considerable discussions on the issue of the Communique, the Chairman of the Conference offered the view of both Conveners that in order to move matters forward, there be an agreement that there be NO COMMUNIQUE, but rather a REPORT by the Rapporteur detailing the events of the meeting.
At this point, Mr. Andrew Edevbie of the Urhobo delegation abruptly
moved a motion to adjourn indefinitely due to a failure to reach a consensus
as outlined above. This motion was seconded by Dr. Ebiware of the Ijaw
delegation. With Mr. Ayomike of the Itsekiri delegation now agreeing, the
motion was unanimously carried.
An Important Note
A related (but non-determinative) issue raised was the need for all delegations to have enough time to react to various submissions raised by them over the vexing issue of the title of the Olu of Warri and the status of Warri. The Itsekiri delegation had made a detailed submission of their position before the conference (it was circulated before and during the conference; some of the other delegates stated that they had not been privy to it before the conference). The Urhobo delegation stated it had prepared a rejoinder to the Itsekiri submission on the relevant issues. However as there were no discussions of those items, the Urhobo delegation rejoinder was not circulated.
Despite the above report, the conveners expressed their willingness to make themselves available again if and when the parties agree to meet again under more auspicious circumstances.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Convener and Chairman of Conference Co-Convener & Rapporteur
Subject: ANNOUNCING: THE WARRI CRISIS PEACE CONGRESS/NORTH AMERICA
July 23, 1999
Dear Compatriots and Friends of Nigeria:
It is our honor and privilege to invite you to the following event: The Warri Crisis Peace Congress/North America, featuring delegates from Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo organizations. It will be held on Saturday, July 24, 1999, at Howard University. Further details will be found below.
Please note that after the first two hours of open session, the rest of the day will be a Closed Session involving only the delegates.
We look forward to friendly and fruitful deliberations at this important
|Capt. Philip A. Ikomi, PhD
Convener & Chairman
Dr. Mobolaji E. Aluko
Co-Convener & Rapporteur
THE WARRI CRISIS PEACE CONGRESS/NORTH AMERICA
Date: Saturday, July 24, 1999
Place: Auditorium/Conference Room,
School of Engineering Building, Howard University
2300 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059
Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sustainable Peace Among the Ijaw, the Itsekiri and the Urhobo in Warri and Its Environs
Capt. Philip A. Ikomi, Ph.D. - Chairman of the Conference
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D. - Rapporteur
1. Dr. Joseph Ebiware
2. Dr. Gadson Omubo-Dede
3. Mr. Francis Ebi Porbeni
4. Mr. Justus Wariya
1. Dr. Felix Abeson
2. Mr. Bawo Ayomike
3. Dr. Oti Agbajoh-Laoye
4. Mr. Eyisan Omagbemi
1. Mr. Andrew Edevbie
2. Dr. Igho Natufe
3. Princess Elizabeth Ogbon
4. Dr. John Aruegodore Oyiborhoro
Directions to Howard University School of Engineering Auditorium:
From New York: InterState 95S to BW Parkway to New York Avenue to Florida Avenue, then right on Georgia till 2300 block. Go to  below.
From Beltway 495 from Virginia: Look for Georgian Avenue Exit, proceed South until 2300 block. Go to  below.
By road from National Airport: 15 minutes by taxi [straight into DC] from BWI Airport: 45 minutes by taxi [via BW Parkway] from Dulles: 1 hour by taxi [Route 66 to Constitution Ave., NW. Go to ]
 7th Street NW Washington becomes Georgia Avenue at Florida Avenue Proceed North from Florida Intersection until Howard Place
Turn right into Howard University Campus
Take first right down Sixth Street
Second building to your right is School of Engineering.
Auditorium is on the First Floor. Conference room is Room 1005.
If lost, call 202.806-6617 or mobile 301/706-7309