Residents of Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have called on the Delta State government to, as a matter of urgency, wade into the communal crisis between the community and neighboring Aladja.
The call was made on Wednesday at an emergency meeting at Ogbe-Ijoh town, headquarters of Ogbe-ljoh Warri Kingdom.
A communique issued after the meeting, signed by Chief Roland Takembo, chairman, Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom Governing Council; Mr. Peter London, secretary, and five others called on the state government to intervene before things get out of hands.
The communique read; “Gentlemen of the press, once again we have gathered here to update the press on the persistent and consistent attacks on Ogbe-ljoh indigenes along the Aladja/Ogbe-ljoh Road by Aladja people. The recent victim is Pastor Sylvester Yerinbide of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ogbe-ljoh Branch, who was tortured to death by Aladja assailants. Pastor Sylvester Yerinbide on the 29th of October 2021, left Ogbe-ljoh at about 06:22pm to attend an all-night vigil at Aladja organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Aladja Branch and was attacked by Aladja assailants along the Aladja/Ogbe-ljoh Road by Aladja.
Members of Ogbe-ljoh Warri Kingdom Governing Council in a group after the media press briefing
“The Aladja assailants, after inflicting grievous bodily harms, used the motorcycle (okada) he was riding to press him to the ground and was in that state till a commercial motorcyclist saw him and took him to Government General Hospital Ogbe-ljoh and was later referred to a private hospital in Warri where he died,” they alleged.
Continuing, the release said: “We also recall similar incidents on the 15th of October, 2019 where Mr. Taylor Ogofuwa was shot dead in the process of clearing the surrounding of his house. Also on 10th of October, 2018, Mr. Wilson Oborogha was almost killed while clearing the surrounding of his compound. Similarly, in November 2017, Mr. Samson Bebebo was beheaded in a fish pond while carrying out his legitimate business.
The Government of Delta State and Security Agencies in Delta State are aware that since the return of the ‘conditional peace’ brokered by the Aladja/Ogbe-ljoh Peace Vanguard on the 10th of June 2019, there have been one form of calamity or the other against the Ogbe-ljoh people. There have been persistent and consistent attacks on both human and buildings on daily basis. From records available, since June 10, 2019 to date, more than ten (10) persons have been attacked leading to grievous bodily harms – maimed, disfigured and amputated. Also within this period, a number of buildings have been either set ablaze or doors/windows and other interior fittings are destroyed within Ogbe-Ijoh by Aladja people.
“We also recall the series of peace accords/agreements entered with the government and security agencies and the flagrant violations on the part of Aladja community as well as inaction of government and security agencies in this regard. Furthermore, we recall the numerous attacks on Ogbe-ljoh by Aladja assailants since 24th of March, 2016 to date. At the last count, Ogbe-ljoh has been attacked more than 21 times and all documented. It is rather unfortunate that the Delta State Government failed to arrest this situation making Aladja community to feel above the law. We have given the Delta State Government all the support and cooperation the government needs to restore lasting peace to the two communities, but government chose to play politics with the boundary dispute. The Government of Delta State called for an EXPANDED SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING and took a decision which was fair enough to both parties but the government failed to implement this.
“The Government of Delta State is in possession of all the security reports and is better informed to take definite stand on the boundary dispute but has refused to do the needful as required.
“Furthermore, the government of Delta State cannot claim ignorance of all the atrocities meted out to the Ogbe-Ijoh people and choosing to remain silent in all of these as a government is quite disturbing.
“It is sad, however, to note that the government of Delta State finds it extremely difficult to demarcate the boundary of the two local government councils, Udu and Warri South West, as recognised by existing boundary laws in Nigeria and as maintained by successive governments from 1955 to date.
“It is, indeed, sad that the Delta State Government, despite having all the facts of the matter with specific reference to Western Region Legal Notice No 176 of 1955, instrument establishing the boundary line of the two local government and others, we are surprised that the Delta State Government is not doing enough to resolve the boundary dispute between Ogbe-ljoh and Aladja Ita 2 of 3.
“Failure of the Delta State Government to take definite stand on the boundary dispute and deal squarely with the defaulting party is primarily responsible for the incessant attacks and killings in Ogbe-Ijoh by Aladja
“Arising from the meeting, the Ogbe-ljoh Warri Kingdom Youth Council have issued a 14-day ultimatum for the relevant bodies to fish out the culprits and as leaders
irrevocably committed to peace, we have intervened and advised our youths to discontinue the ultimatum and continue to maintain the peace despite the unwarranted and unprovoked attacks.
“We therefore call on the government, especially the Commandant Nigeria Army Effurun Barracks who called for security meeting of parties with a view to preventing reprisal attack to do all that is needed to fish out the culprits as we will not accept any attempt to silent investigation like previous cases,” they concluded.