BOMADI—Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State has been called upon to intervene, without any further delay, in the brewing inter-communal crisis between Ijaw-speaking Okoloba federated community in Bomadi council area and Urhobo-speaking Okuama community in Ughelli South council area in the riverine enclave of the state.
Addressing newsmen at Bomadi, headquarters of Bomadi local government area, yesterday, the chairman Okoloba federated community, Mr Clement Koki, alleged that their neighbouring Okuama community had invaded and attacked their indigenes, farmlands and fishing grounds on several occasions without any provocation.
He said: “There is no gainsaying that where peace and peaceful co-existence is lacking, certainly there cannot be any meaningful development. The resultant situation is anarchy and disorderliness which are precursors to underdevelopment.
“Herein lies the justification for our passionate appeal to the attention of His Excellency, Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori, on the incessant and unprovoked attacks and criminal invasion of farmlands and fishing lakes belonging to Okoloba federated community by the people of Okuama, who are mere settlers from Ughelli South local government area.
“Specifically, on 17th December, 2023, the people of Okuama came in their droves to our community waterfront and started cutting off trees and grasses under the guise of catching fishes, thereby exposing the shoreline to massive erosion, and at the same time blasting dynamites indiscriminately.
“These acts are particularly prohibited in the community and they attract stiff penalties on offenders, a fact wellknown to the people of Okuama. The essence being to preserve our ecosystem owing to the effect of erosion affecting our shorelines and threatening the safety of our land, buildings and livelihood of our people.
“Okuama community persistently carry out such destructive acts, including blasting of dynamites, the use of other dangerous explosives and corrosive chemicals in our waterfronts, destroying aquatic lives and causing untold environmental degradation such as earth tremors.
“After issuing series of warnings, which they have serially ignored, Okoloba youths pursued the perpetrators on a fateful day and arrested two of the young men while others escaped . We took them for questioning without any bodily harm or injury done to them.
“On hearing that their kiths and kins were arrested for illegality and criminality, they came begging and promised paying the usual paltry sum of thirty thousand (#30,000.00) as is customary of offenses of such magnitude.
“Instead of complying, they went to our fishing lakes and abducted countless defenseless women and children, including pregnant ones, all of whom they brutalized with AK 47 rifles, matchettes, axes, daggers and other dangerous weapons and corossive chemicals.
“After brutalizing and battering the women and children, some of whom they threatened to rape mercilessly, they took them to unknown destination. It was the timely intervention of HRM Pere S. P. Luke, Kalanama VIII, Pere of Akugbene-Mein Kingdom, that saved total breakdown of law and order.
“They released the abducted women and children in exchange for their criminal perpetrators but kept the canoes, assorted fishing gears, handsets, cash and among others to themselves till this moment despite all entreaties.
“They also threatened to attack us, boasting they have a stockpile of AK 47 rifles and ammunitions and will mobilize their brothers in Ewu kingdom to attack us any moment.
“They carry out all sorts of dispecable acts in a bid to provoke us into having a direct confrontation with them to breach the subsisting peace along the coastal lines.
“As peace-loving people, the essence of this painstaking message is to crave the indulgence of His Excellency, Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori, to use his office to prevail on the people of Okuama to desist from their acts of criminality and illegality on our land, as these acts are capable of igniting inter-communal hostilities and bloodbath”.