Ohanaeze Ndigbo cautioned against professing Ikweres as Igbo

Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.Photo:Twitter

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been cautioned against professing that the Ikwere people in Rivers State are Igbo. A group in the state, the Iwhnurohna Progressive Organisation (IPO), has criticised the president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, for describing the Ikwerre people in Rivers as Igbo.

 The group said the recent statement by the Ohaneze Ndigbo president during his visit to Port Harcourt last week was false and unfounded and capable of causing disaffection between the Igbo and Ikwerres.

Recall that Iwuanyanwu during his official visit as the president of the Igbo apex organisation, alleged that the Ikwerre ethnic nationality in Rivers State is an extended part of the Igbo, insisting that the language and culture of the Ikwerre people suggests they are Igbo.

But visibly angered by the claim, President of IPO, Dr. Okachikwu Dibia, who spoke on behalf of the Ikwerre people, argued that features of appearance or similarities in language should not be used to determine where a person comes from, cautioning that such claims will no longer be tolerated by the Ikwere.

Dibia said: “To us at IPO, Ikwerre is Igbo means that all the ancestral communities in Ikwerre originated from Igbo. This is not true and can never be true, hence our reply to him and indeed Ohanaeze Ndigbo is that 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 UN. Whoever is in doubt can contact the appropriate government authorities in Nigeria and the UN’.

 He explained that while Ikwerre is ‘our political name, Iwhnurohna is our native name’. He  stressed that both refer to the same people Ikwerre ethnic nationality’.

According to him, “we live and own the Emohua, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City (in alphabetical order) local government areas in Rivers State.

“IPO believes that another means of establishing who a people are is to investigate their history; do they have any verifiable piece of history? As indicated earlier, the rich history of Ikwerre people has been well written, documented and established.

” There are two theories that explain the history of Iwhnurohna: autochthonism and migration. Till date, no one has been able to successfully trace where the Akpor people of Ikwerre come from. They insist that Akpor is where they found themselves, they did not come from anywhere, they originated from Akpor and they live in Akpor. Therefore, we call them the Ikwerre Aborigines,” the IPO president argued.

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