Ondo State Government has said it was not ready to cede any part of its legitimate land to any state.
This is coming as government rejected the claims by Ogun State Government that certain communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of the state belong to Ogun State.
The communities are Irokun, Obinehin, Idigbengben and Araromi seaside, all in Ilaje Local Government Area, which historically belong to Ondo State.
At a joint press briefing by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju and her Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs counterpart, Alhaji Amidu Takuro, the two Commissioners equally rejected and condemned the false allegations made by the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Noimot SalekoAyodele, against Ondo State Government.
On November 3rd, 2023, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State alleged that Ondo State Government attacked Ogun state citizens in Irokun.
But Ademola-Olateju at the briefing on Friday described all the allegations made by Ogun State Deputy Governor as patently false, adding that it has become a pattern of alarming propaganda by the Ogun State Government as a strategy to reinforce their false territorial claim on Irokun, Obinehin, Idigbengben and Araromi seaside.
The state image maker explained that government has tendered enough evidences to the Federal Government through the National Boundary Commission (NBC), to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the affected communities belong to Ondo State, adding that government has consistently install monarchs in the communities without any dispute.
She stressed that residents of the affected towns always vote as Ondo State citizens, and wondered why Ogun State Government is laying claim to what does not belong to it.
The Commissioner explained that Ondo and Ogun state which are sister states of the same Yoruba ethnic stock, under common political structures, cannot afford to fight each other.
She urged the National Boundary Commission to quickly release the final report of the ethnographic survey of the disputed areas, just as she assured all inhabitants of Ilaje Local Government and the state at large of government’s continued exercise of legitimate authority over its territory in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in the interest of the security and well being of all persons in the disputed areas.
On his part, Alhaji Takuro, emphasised that the affected land and communities undisputably belong to Ondo State, just as he charged Ogun State Government to go back and reconcile their documents.
He added that Ogun State SSG once confirmed that Irokun does not belong to Ogun State and is not part of their traditional council, insisting that Ondo State will not allow any state to take its territory.
The Commissioner further disclosed that the only public primary school in the community was built by Ilaje Local Government authority of Ondo State.
The Information Commissioner said; ‘The Ondo State Government is ever conscious of and irrevocably committed to the fundamental duty of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens. The admonition of the Deputy Governor of Ogun State urging the Ondo State Government to call her citizens to order on allegations that they were attacking their counterparts from Ogun State and linking same to the administrative actions of the Ondo State Government is deceptive.
“While the government of Ondo State is irrevocably committed to securing the lives and properties of its residents, we also note with high sense of responsibility that Ondo and Ogun state are sister states of the same Yoruba ethnic stock. For the most part, we have been under common political structures since the creation of the Western Region.
“What is now regarded as territorial disputes predated the creation of both states and have always been managed with the highest sense of responsibility by both states. Ondo and Ogun States share common boundaries in several parts but contrary to the allegations of the Ogun State Deputy Governor, the upsurge of conflicts in the coastal areas is traceable to the activities of officials of the Ogun State Government in areas which are under the undisputed administrative territories of Ondo State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, communities such as Irokun, Obineyin, Araromi, etc which featured prominently in the Press Conference by the Deputy Governor are not in dispute between Ondo and Ogun States. These towns are legally and administratively within Ondo State territory and the towns have formidable presence of the state government which attest to the administrative control of the state over these areas.
“The appointment of Obas in these communities have been done by Ondo state in accordance with the customary law, and the extent Chiefs Law of the State. In particular, the recent appointment of Princess Adeyinka Abejoye-Ogunyemi as the Regent of Olurokun of Irokun following the demise of her father, the immediate past Oba Olowoniyi Abejoye, the 16th Olurokun of Irokun was approved by the Ondo State Government.
“Thus, the declaration of the legitimate exercise of power by the Ondo State Government over this area which was conferred on it by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as illegal by the Deputy Governor of Ogun State is not only untenable but an open invitation to lawlessness by miscreants who might be inclined to enforce the wish of the Ogun State Government in defence of this baseless and unfounded declaration.
“The Irokun people themselves in their Press statement reiterated that:
“On the claim of Olurokun being a member of the Ijebu Traditional Council, records in both Ondo and Ogun States show that as far back as 1920, the District Officer Ijebu-Ode in his letter N0.71/1920 of July 9, 1920, to his Ondo Division counterpart had confirmed that “neither Irokun nor the village of Obi was in Ijebu country.
“After the enactment of the Native Authorities Ordinance of 1924 and the groupings of traditional rulers, Olurokun of Irokun Oba Joga Adejipe in his letter through the Maporure of Ihapen Agerige dated October 8, 1937 to the District Officer on Tour Mahin traced his ancestry to Ilaje requesting that his kingdom remained part of the Mahin (Ilaje) District.