By Alex Okoro
OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has waded into a cross border communal confrontation from the Republic of Benin in Itongeji Island of Ogun state.
The House in this regard directed its Committees on Special Duties and Navy to undertake an oversight visit to Itongeji Island with a view to recommending ways to secure it in order to protect Nigerian citizens living in the communities.
The resolution was taken Wednesday after a motion sponsored by Mr. Adekunle Akinlade titled, ‘Urgent Need to Address the Problems of Cross Border Communal Clashes in Itongeji Island, Ogun State’ scaled approval.
In his lead debate, Akinlade informed his colleagues that on November 20, 2015, residents of a small fishing village in Itongeji Island of Ogun State woke up to the sounds of gunshots from rival fishermen from Otho village in Republic of Benin over fishing and waterways rights.
He hinted that due to the development, Government of Ogun State set up a committee to determine the immediate and remote causes of the clashes, adding that it found out that there had been series of requests to the federal government to provide a long term strategic plan for the island.
The lawmaker stressed that given the economic resources and potentials of the island, it was important for the government to establish physical presence to secure the island and end the regular communal unrest and foreign encroachment on the island.
In his reaction, the Minority Leader, Mr.. Leo Ogor reiterated that the security and peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians should be a paramount concern as stated in the constitution.
He therefore admonished the leadership of the House to do everything possible to address the issue as soon as possible.
Also contributing to the motion, Mr. Aminu Shagari said they would not allow the ugly incident to degenerate, saying it was becoming a threat to the sovereignty of the country.
Mr. Bangbose Joseph (APC, Lagos State) in his contribution said the issue demands urgent attention to avoid a repeat of the Bakassi peninsula issue.
He explained that the Nigerian government had neglected the community for long but the neighboring Benin republic having discovered that the community is oil rich picked interest in the areas.