•Agbasa Claims ownership of Ogbe-Market
WARRI ~ Scores of persons have been reportedly butchered yesterday in the popular Ogbe -Ijoh market by aggrieved Youths of Agbassa Community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Confirming the incident to Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper, Chief M. Keme, a leader in Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State narrated the series of imbroglio that have rocked the market in recent times.
According to the Ogbe -Ijoh community leader, “The Ogbe-Ijoh market has right from time had a committee responsible for the day to day running of the market. This committee was constituted by the Ogbe-Ijoh Governing Council, which is responsible for the administration of the Kingdom. This market committee has been in existence for many years and their job include but not limited to, Allocate stores to traders, Maintain security in the market, Waste collection/disposal, Settle disputes among traders and Collection of levies
The chief also added “Early last year, some traders – six women and a young man of about 30 years led by one Solomon Matthew from Edo State refused to pay levy to Ogbe-Ijoh market Committee. The levy is N6,000.00 per store yearly, which the market Committee use to pay Police men, Vigilantes and private security men that provides security at the market, part of the levy is also used to hire trucks to evacuate waste once in every week and other miscellaneous. Part of this levy also goes to trade unions/association in the market as well as office running cost of the market. This facts are known to all and everybody complied in the market except these seven persons as mentioned.
Keme stated that “The Ogbe-Ijoh people are surprised that Agbassa people are involved in this matter. In Warri everybody knows his boundary and it is very unfortunate that the Agbassa Urhobos allowed themselves to be used by some ethnic champions to cause disaffection among ethnic groups in the State. What Agbassa community stands to gain by attacking Ijaws. I was out of town when the recent incident happened, but I was told that a lot of Ijaws were either cut with cutglass or stabbed.” Chief Keme asserted.
However, a source that would not want his name mentioned in print during a phone conversation with our reporter alleged that the said act was carried out by members of Agbassa community due to ownership of the popular market.
“Agbassa people came from nowhere yesterday around 4.30pm and came back this morning to machete scores of Ijaws, as at the moment both parties are now at the Warri Area Command discussing.
“This market that has been there, the Agbasa people are now claiming its ownership which is so unfair, they went further to put up a totally false story that Warri is made of two traditional rulers namely Olu of Warri and the Agbarha King, he said this was totally false as the Agbara Kingdom is only a recent Kingdom in Warri compared to Ogbe-Ijoh and the Olu of Warri.” The source stated.
An eye witness who is a trader in the volatile market, Miss Eunice on her part reveals that gunshots where fired during the wee hours of yesterday as businesses shutdown down, men and women scamper for safety.
She further stressed that life is becoming horrible in the market while appealling to the state government to quickly come to the aide of the people as they live in perpetual fear of the unknown.
Meanwhile when our correspondent contacted the Delta State Police command Public Relations Officer, PRO Celestine Kalu denied any knowledge of the incident, stressing that she is yet to receive any report to that effect.