HomeFeaturesWe Are Not Igbo, Rivers Ikwerre Group Berate Iwuanyanwu

We Are Not Igbo, Rivers Ikwerre Group Berate Iwuanyanwu

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The Ikwerre people of Rivers State have rejected their classification as Igbo by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and its President, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu warning the socio-cultural group to desist from such. 

The Iwhnurohna Progressive Organisation (IPO) rejected the claim made by Ohanaeze, stating that it was offensive, insulting, shameful, disgusting, insensitive, careless, uncivilized, and unfounded.

Speaking on behalf of IPO in Port Harcourt, Dr. Okahchukwu Dibia, said it was “not true and can never be true” that all the ancestral communities in Ikwerre originated from Igbo.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Ikwerre people are a distinct ethnic nation recognised in Nigeria and the United Nations. Ikwerre language is one of the recognised languages in Nigeria and the United Nations (UN).”

Dibia challenged those in doubt about the history of the Ikwerre to “contact the appropriate government authorities in Nigeria and the UN.”

Continuing, he said: “While Ikwerre is our political name, Iwhnurohna is our native name, and both refer to the same people: the Ikwerre ethnic nationality.

“We live and own the Emohua, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City (in alphabetical order) local government areas in Rivers State, Niger Delta, South-South geo-political region of Nigeria”.

Citing several authorities and scholars like Prof. Otonti Nduka, Dibia insisted that the Ikwerre remained distinct from the Igbo despite similarities in their languages.

His words: “Consequently, IPO’s reply to Iwuanyanwu is that language, name, dances, songs, dressing cannot be and should not be used as determinants of who Ikwerre is. IPO wish to reply Iwuanyanwu that who a man truly is, is more about his core, innate character and behaviour than the physicals he sees.

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“IPO’s reply to Iwuanyanwu on the history of Ikwerre is that Iwhnurohna is a Federation of Aborigines and Migrants who have come together under one political roof called Ikwerre Ethnic Nation. It is therefore very unthinkable and childish to claim that Ikwerre is Igbo because of the existence of few Aro communities allowed to settle in Ikwerreland”.

Dibia argued that features of appearance should not be used to determine someone’s identity but that verifiable piece of history and the innate character of an individual should speak for his ancestral affinity.

He said: “Ikwerre history has been well written and documented. Ikwerre is not Igbo. In Igboland, due to reckless boundaries delineation between Rivers State and Imo State, Ikwerre people are carved into Imo State. Example is the Ohaji people in Imo state.

“Ohanaeze should know that it is only a handful of Aro people who were allowed to settle in Ikwerre that can trace their origin to Igboland. Therefore, it is very wrong, preposterous and unacceptable for anyone to say that Ikwerre is Igbo.

“Henceforth, such offensive, insulting, abusive and insensitive hate-claim should not be uttered by Ohanaeze or any other group or individuals from any part of humanity. Iwhnurohna will not tolerate it anymore.

“IPO suggests that Ohanaeze should maintain good neighbourliness. Ohanaeze, Ijaw and indeed all ethnic groups in Nigeria should respect their neighbours as distinct people instead of angling and making subtle desperate moves for unification for a political entity they will dominate. No nation is successfully built on suspicion and domination.

“Ohanaeze should recognise the need to change its antagonistic attitude towards Ikwerre. Igbo should stay and develop their five states and let Ikwerre be. Ikwerre is not Igbo.

“IPO wishes to remind Ohanaeze that good neighbourliness is better than money, profits and gains. Ohaneze should respect Ikwerre as a distinct ethnic nation instead of insulting Ikwerre through claims that provoke and promote disaffection between Ikwerre and Igbo. Then, we can all co-habit as good neighbours.”

Iwuanyanwu, during a recent press conference in Port Harcourt, had called the Ikwerre Igbo people.

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