By Akpos Oghenetega,
17 years after the Itsekiri and the Ijaw crisis which claimed many lives and properties worth millions of naira destroyed, the whereabouts of Shola Olatunji, Itsekiri warlord, who was one of the key fighters who defended the Istekiri nation against the ravaging Ijaw militia has remained unknown.
Recall that following the conflict between the Itsekiri and the Ijaw which started again in June 1999, some young fighters including Shola Olatunji, volunteered to fight on the side of the Itsekiri nation to defend their people against terror unleashed on them by the Ijaw fighter leading to the death of many young men.
The district of Warri in Delta State has been the scene of ethnic and territorial conflicts between the Itsekeri and the Ijaws since March 1997, when ethnic violence broke out between the Ijaws and the Itsekeris following a government decision to relocate the headquarters of the Warri south local government council from an Ijaw community to a community belonging to the Itsekeris.
After what looked like a relative peace move by Chief James Ibori led Delta State government, some Ijaw youths who are not happy with the role played by Shola Olatunji in defending Itsekiri nation; vowed to kill him and they launched a fresh attack on Shola Olatunji’s family house at Ginuwa Road, Warri Delta.
According to our source, the attack was allegedly aimed at eliminating Shola Olatunji and his key men, however, the attackers only succeded in killing Shola’s friend, one Richard Akatakpo whom they abducted, killed and butchered with a matchet, while Shola Olatunji who was shot on the leg escaped with a bullet wound.
Following this fresh crisis, Nigeria security agencies have launched a manhunt of Shola Olatunji, while the Ijaws militias are reportedly hunting him down to kill him when found, this our investigation revealed made him flee the state and there is suspicion that he might have fled the country to avoid been killed and most of his co-fighter from the Itsekiri nation have been eliminated by Ijaw hitmen.
Our investigation revealed that neither the family nor close associate of Shola Olatunji, knows his whereabouts and he has cut communication ties with them.