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Port Harcourt
Saturday, July 13, 2024

Port-Harcourt City( On the area called D’line) 

Chikere Byke Wanjoku wrote….

This was the name given to the area of Land forcefully taken from the Ikwerre natives of Egwumabali, Oromineke and Oroworukwo villages of Rebisi.

The people were forcefully evicted from their traditional homeland by the government of the then Eastern Region.

The forced eviction and subsequent takeover of this area which became known as D’line ( Development line) in 1953 pushed the homeless to squat with relatives in neighbouring communities and many died heartbroken as the idea of leaving their traditional homes was shameful and unbearable.

This tactical extermination of the aboriginal Iwhnuruohna natives by the then Eastern Regional government with headquarters at Enugu, made way for the final push towards Igbonization of the Ikwerre ethnic nationality by reducing the population of the Rebisi natives who as at that time constituted the most enlightened of the Ikwerre people.

According to Harold Wolpe (1974), by 1963, the aboriginal (natives) Ikwerres constituted only 7% of the entire population, chased to the peripheral area of Port Harcourt Township and could not effectively participate in the politics and development of the emerging city.

They had been muscled almost to the point of near non-existence, and replaced by ‘naturalised’ persons of ibo extraction, making the Ikwerre people now an Ibo population, even as the remaining screamed their voices hoarse that they were Iwhnuruohna people not Ibos.

However frightened by their gradual decimation since 1912-13, after the discovery of coal at Udi Division in 1909, the greatest part of their population who resided in the main areas now known as Main Township and Mile 2 Diobu expanded beyond their original boundaries, and squeezed themselves into the population of their relations in neighbouring villages losing their original identities till date.

However one Elder Thompson Ejekwu Agbirigba, who worked at the Eastern Nigeria Land Office, Enugu, envisaging the probable eviction and extermination of the remaining of the Oroworukwo people and Land, panicked, and advised the people of Oroworukwo to survey the remaining land of the people. And this advice was heeded, making Oroworukwo village the first Ikwerre village to be surveyed completely by natives.

At the David Mark Abandoned Property Committee when the Aro occupants laid claim to ownership of Oroworukwo village, this Survey Plan was to be the saving grace for the natives as it was presented by Dick Wami of blessed memory.

It should be noted that it was Dick Wami who received the first set of Aro people led by Okuchi into Oroworukwo village.

– same old D’line byke

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