By Ovasa Ogaga, ————Jan. 29th, 2017 ————————-
The people of Aladja community, Udu Local Government Area, Delta State have blamed government and security agencies for the impunity of their Ogbe-Ijoh neighbours in stopping government bulldozers deployed to open up the disputed areas to ease visibility and help check warriors from either community to launch attacks.
They added that it was ridiculous that those who stopped government from implementing the decision to clear and open up the vast area between the warring communities and also seized armed security men deployed to the area, have not be brought to book till date, but are not left loss to commit more havoc.
Addressing newsmen in Aladja, the Traditional Prime Minister of the Community (Oghwuvwie-Ode), Chief Photo Ogbe who was flanked by leaders and elders of the community, noted that while the Aladja end of the disputed area has been opened up in line with government directive, the Ogbe-Ijoh end has remained untouched due to actions of Ogbe-Ijoh militants, who attacked the workers and also seized two security men, leading to arrest of some heavily armed Ogbe-Ijoh youths that were however released, supposedly on instruction from above.
“This kind of impunity exhibited by Ogbe-Ijoh people only suggests that government is most likely encouraging our neighbours in carrying out their periodic unprovoked and deadly attacks on our people resulting in several deaths since the boundary dispute erupted last year.
Only this year, we have been attacked several times. We were elated when government mobilized bulldozers to open up the vast land between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities but were shocked to learn that after successfully opening up the Aladja end, they were stopped by Ogbe-Ijoh warriors/militants without consequences.
“Several Ogbe-Ijoh youths were caught with sophisticated assault rifles, magazines and grenades; but sadly they were released supposedly on instruction from above. This to us suggests government and the security agencies are working in cohort with our Ijaw neighbours to drive Aladja from their land’’, he said.
Chief Photo Ogbe expressed dismay at the impunity of the Ogbe-Ijoh people, calling on government to prove its sincerity in resolving the crisis by opening up the entire area despite resistance from Ogbe-Ijoh in line with their original plans, deal decisively with those caught with arms and be fair to all for restoration of confidence, de-escalation of hostilities and for peace and justice in the matter.
He added that Aladja, as true owners of the disputed land, will not resort to war or violence to prove any point as the facts of history were enough to prove their ownership claims beyond any reasonable doubt, stressing that in the spirit of give and take, Aladja are on the same page with government in the efforts to resolve the protracted dispute.
He also condemned the call by Chief Michael Jonny of Gbaramatu Kingdom for government to take over the land, affirming that the call was no solution to the problem as only truth and justice could bring lasting peace to the area.