By Kelvin Ohoror
The people of Oleh Community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State has call on the Inspector General of police and the Delta State Commissioner of police who is currently handling the matter to spare no effort to arrest and prosecute the murderers, their co-conspirators and abettors of the alleged gruesome killings of the Oleh 12 by the people of Ozoro Community. This was made known in a press conference at the Oleh civic centre by the President General of Oleh Community Development Union (OCDU) Chief Believe Alakri.
He stated that there had been numerous threats of violence, amounting to self- incriminating comments, made brazenly by Ozoro persons on Facebook, a social media platform that confirms the premeditated nature of the gruesome murders of the Oleh 12.
He noted that, “Amidst these provocative actions of the Ozoro people, the Oleh Community has always sought for peace, but the more the Oleh tried to resist the clear acts of aggression by the Ozoro people aimed at provocating a war with Oleh over boundary issues, the more Ozoro Community push for war. To them, war is the only means of by which they believe they can achieve their desired goal of annexing Oleh land having failed by lawful means”
According to him, on the 16th of October the combined team of security agents recovered the bodies of Mrs. Glory Emiedafe Gowon, Mr. Sunday Uyeh, Mr. Victor Egeme, Mr. Friday Egeme, Mrs.Bridget Egeme, Mrs. Naomi Egeme, Mr. Oghenovie Egeme, Mr. Solomon Emmanuel and Mr. Dennis Ojokojo while the bodies of two others, namely Mr. Ogagaoghene Oletabe and Oghenekioja Egeme, were recovered on Wednesday 21st October, leaving one Orezimena Egeme still missing.
Chief Alakri also stated that, all the above victims were hired to work on a farmland leased to Hon.Lucky Okperi for farming purposes at Ada bush by the Oloro family of Oleh, noting that the Oloro family of Oleh, who are the righful owners of the Ada land, with established landmarks and clear boundary, had long ago further ascertain their ownership via a High Court Judgement in suit NO: HCO/13/1982, against the Odhegbe and Emealuedajor families of Ozoro, who were the rival claimants and defendants.
The President General of Oleh Community further said that, the judgement delivered 29 years ago by competent Court of jurisdiction, precisely on 19th of July, 1991, was not appealed by the defendants, stating that, despite this position, members of the defendants families of Ozoro had consistently threatened the plaintiffs family members of Oleh with dangerous weapons, thereby depriving them of the peaceful use of their land and aiming to forcefully scare them into abandoning their land completely.
Chief Alakri further stated that, on the 9th of August, 2020, members of the Oloro family and their workers who went to work at the Ada land along Oleh/Ozoro road, where the gruesome murder of the only 12 took place, were attacked by members of the defendants family, who are indigenes of Ozoro town. They were dispossessed of their cutlasses, phones, and chainsaw by the attackers who were heavily armed and chanting war songs. The incident was also reported to the Commissioner of Police by the Oloro family.
He also stated that no doubt, there have been boundary disputes among families at the Oleh/Ozoro boundary axis right from time immemorial, stating that all such issues have always been subjected to dispute resolution mechanism, such as the court and constituted organs, including the Isoko Development Union, and decisions reached have always been complied with by the Oleh people, while the Ozoro people have always acted otherwise, he stated.
He said that, the recent Intervention by the Isoko Development Union, the Apex social- cultural organization of the Isoko people, saying that, IDU undertook a thorough review of the claims of all the families involved and took a holistic decision that would settle the matter by delineating the boundaries between the communities with identifiable landmarks.
“While the decision was accepted by the Oleh people, the Ozoro people rejected the IDU decision. This led the Ozoro people to opt for traditional oath taking as another way of resolving the issues, which the Oleh people accepted. The traditional oath taking agreed by both parties was endorse and facilitated by IDU and Isoko Traditional Rulers. Yet, the Ozoro people chose not to wait for the outcome of the oath before they protested to the government for intervention. While awaiting the government decision, Ozoro grew impatient and embarked on several provocative actions against Oleh people, until the recent killings of the Oleh 12”
The president general also stressed that, it is surprising to read that Ozoro people have been circulating a very fallacious claim that the land in reference, where Oleh people were murdered in cold blood, was sold or leased to Fulani Herdsmen. This allegation is a total fabrication being deliberately propagated to divert attention from diligent investigation of the real culprits.
“At no time did the Oloro family, owners of the land, or the Odio-ologbo of Oleh Kingdom, sell or lease the said land to Herdsmen. As a matter of fact, as at the time and date of the cold-blood killings that took place on the 16th of October, 2020, there was no sign of herdsmen or cattle on the said land”
He furher said that it will be a grave mistake to take the peaceful disposition of Oleh Community adherence to the rule of law, for cowardice, noting that Oleh community will not be goaded prematurely into war by a neighbor that seems to crave for war, that prides itself as a war loving people, we would defend the honour of our people.
He therefore appealed to the youths and entire Oleh Community, including the bereaved families, to remain calm, that they will not rest but, rather deplore all positive efforts to ensuring that our slain heroes get justice.
At the time of this report all effort to reach the President General of Ozoro Community Mr. Nicholas Areh to comment on the issue prove abortive as his mobile phone was not reachable.