Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC), a coalition of 135 civil society and community-based groups spread across Nigeria, has called on Federal Government to address the political exclusion of Itsekiri indigenous communities in Delta State, which stems from alleged disobedience of court orders in their favour by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with implications on democracy, liberty and justice.
Taiwo Adeleye, who spoke on behalf of the group, said that giving Itsekiri recognition would go a long way to calm them and eliminate recurrent agitations.
He said: “NHRC received complaints from the people of Warri, including women, men, workers, artisans and community-based organisations concerning the delineation of 10 Wards in Delta State which affects the electorate in the designated area. Their rights to vote as entrenched in the Nigerian constitution has been fought for many years culminating in a court judgment.
“After protracted legal fireworks, the High Court in Benin declared in the Judgment that ‘the creation of new wards done by INEC in 1998 was done in flagrant disobedience to the order of the court. INEC filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Benin, which was struck out on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.
“Though the court agreed that INEC had no right and cannot re-delineate the wards, nothing has been done to affect the change by reverting to the 10 ward structure,” he said.
At the meeting, which was attended by the Vice-Chairman, Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Edgar Oritsetimeyin, and three other members of INYC, NHRC called on INEC to revert to the 10 Ward structure in Warri South Local Government Area and accordingly align all materials to be printed and produced for the 2023 general election with the said court judgment as was recently done in the case of Imo, Bayelsa and Bauchi state governorship election results where the Commission was seen to have complied with court judgments.