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If Prince Ginuwa thought that he had safely eluded those who had conspired against him in Benin, he was mistaken. The Chiefs, finding after some time that their Sons did not return, realized that the whole scheme was a ruse and at once sent a force to bring the fugitive Prince back with their Sons.

When this news came to GINUWA he instructed his men to board the Ark which carried them on the tide to the small settlement of EFUROKPE on the Jamieson River. Not satisfied that this was safe, he launched the Ark again, making for the mouth of the Forcados River.
This was a long, tedious and difficult voyage. As the Craft made its way towards the mouth of the river, tall waves replaced the gentle stream of the Ethiope and Jamieson Rivers. The great trees of the high forests gave way to the monotonous wall of dingy mangroves whose crawling roots and olive-green leaves stretched as far as the eyes could see.

But at last they reached the ‘Floating Islands’ at the mouth of the Forcados River and went ashore at the small settlement of AMATU with its glittering white sand where Crocodiles and Alligators basked in the sun.
Amatu was beautiful but unproductive and far from an ideal settlement for a company of men who needed to eat. There were however more fertile headlands inhabited by the Ijohs. With these people some form of association developed, leading to the abandonment of Amatu by Prince Ginuwa who went with his people to settle at ‘ORUSELEMO’ where he took an Ijoh wife, DERUMO.
But the Benin fugitives were not popular and there were disturbances in one of which the wife of the fugitive Prince was murdered. Ginuwa decided that it was advisable to move again.

Again the Ark was launched, this time for a voyage up the Forcados River. The Forcados River has always had its own particular beauty with its white and yellow sand, its cotton trees still there today, tall, metallic, and its tufted palms. Having passed the present site of Forcados and Burutu, the Ark steered north into the WARRI RIVER.

After days of toil and depression, GINUWA and his men landed in ‘IJALA’ where they built a town and settled. It was not long, however, before news of their whereabouts reached Benin and an Army was sent to recover the fugitive.
Ginuwa was prematurely aged by exertions and though he arranged for a further flight, he could not lead it himself. He died in Ijala and there he was buried.
“This was how Ijala became the burial place of all the KINGS of the ITSEKIRI. It has a special significance for the Itsekiri people today, and a New King must perform some special rituals before he himself can be duly crowned.”

 

From
Itsekiri Crusaders(IC)