Mr Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor.

Oghenechuko Okumagba

The Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC) a foremost ethnic nationality group in Delta State says there is a planned attack on Ogbe-Ijoh community by a neighbourhing community, Aladje.

There has been recurring land dispute between Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri South-West local government area and Aladje in Udu local government area.

Leader of IYC, Mr Victor Akemetubo, in an open letter to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, accused the chairman of Udu local government area, Mr Jite Brown, as the mastermind of the planned attack which is targeting residents and property in the Ogbe-Ijoh GRA and other parts of the community.

According to the letter quoted by our correspondent, Mr Akemetubo said Aladje people have been firing gun shots sporadically into the air at the Ogbe-Ijoh end of the Aladje-Ogbe-Ijoh road in a bid to scare, intimidate, instill fear and incite a retaliation from Ogbe-Ijoh people, a situation that will cause full blown armed conflict between the two communities.

The letter while calling on the Governor Okowa to call the Udu council chairman to order and should hold him responsible in the case of any crisis between the two communities, said the Aladje people have already started digging pits on the Aladje-Ogbe-Ijoh road to make it impossible for security vehicles to pass through it in event of an attack.

The letter alleged that the council chairman was procuring arms for people to use and cause havoc in Ogbe-Ijoh.

“For the past one week the Aladja people have been coming to Ogbe-Ijoh end to shoot indiscriminately at Ogbe-Ijoh at their will, which the DSS, the Nigeria army, the police and other security agencies are aware of.”

“The Urhobo nation should be aware and hold Jite Brown responsible for break down of law and order between this two communities and that Ogbe-Ijoh community do not have any fight with the entire Urhobo nation, it is Jite Brown who is using the council money meant to develop Udu local government to buy arms and ammunition for Aladja people to attack Ogbe-Ijoh over time”, the letter reads.

Meanwhile, a former President of Aladje village council, Mr Denis Etabuko, has dismissed the allegation of a planned attack on Ogbe-Ijoh community as a lie, saying it was Ogbe-Ijoh community that is planning the attack against his community.

“It’s a lie from the pit of hell and that it is the Ogbe-Ijoh people who would be planning to attack Aladja community now.”

“This has always been their pattern. They accuse Aladja of either of one attack or the other or of planning to attack when they are fully ready to attack. This they do to build a defense in case they are accused of an unwarranted attack on Aladja.”

He said Aladje community have not dug trenches on the road on the Aladje – Ogbe-Ijoh road, stressing that the road is currently under construction.

“This is laughable because it is very clear that the road has been in used before, during and after the cessation of hostilities. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa approved the road for reconstruction, it is ongoing presently.

“So how come a road under construction is now being said to be blocked by the Aladja people when the security patrol teams of the Operation Delta Hawks stationed at Ogbe-Ijoh pass through other side roads in the community to Ogbe-Ijoh on a daily basis.

“Ogbe-Ijoh people are known for being blatant liars and this lie has just exposed them as a people who are experts of lie as a merchandise.”

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Etabuko’s account of the cause of the brewing tension between the two communities is copiously captured unedited.

He said “it is on record that the Ogbe-Ijoh people have a penchant for avoiding the resolution of the matter. The security agencies can attest to this fact. Even the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Peace and Conflict Resolution, Chief Henry Uzoh can attest to this fact. Aladja has always complied with any directives from the State Government and the Security Agencies who mediating in the issue but Ogbe-Ijoh has always proved to be the stumbling block to peace.”

“Let me use a scenario to explain this. There was a meeting conveyed by the Chairman of the Udu and Warri South West Local Government Councils; Hon. Jite Brown and Hon. Taiye Tuoyo. At the end of the meeting the Commanding Officer of the 3 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Major Lima asked representatives of both communities to join him as they would be going to the Barracks in Effurun to sign a Peace Accord. The Ogbe-Ijoh representatives refused to join him in his armoured car through Aladja but to passed through the river. Yet, it was in the council secretariat in Ogbe-Ijoh that the meeting was held. The Aladja people came there without any escorts believing that because they are standing for peace nothing untorward would happen to them. Yet, it is this same road the Ogbe-Ijoh are claiming the Aladja people blocked now. Or is there any other access road to Ogbe-Ijoh that do not know of?”

“The IYC through its Chairman, Victor Akemotubo accused the Udu Council boss, Hon. Chief Jite Brown of sponsoring the Aladja People to fight Ogbe-Ijoh. This is another laughable point the egocentric Akemotubo brought up. Because in his blind search for words to accuse the innocent man with he said he failed the last election in his bid to go to the Delta State House of Assembly as the Udu representative. Yes, he failed not because he did do well but because his own Aladja people were against him because of his principled stand to ensure that the boundaries demarcation was totally done in his time since the amiable Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa had delegated him and his counterpart of Warri South West Local Government Council to finish the job.”

“The Aladja People felt their own son joined hands with their enemy to forcefully take their land from them and paid him back by not voting en mass for him in the last election. This is the true picture of what transpired.”

“The Aladja People believe that their son,Jite Brown, has the capacity to assist the community to prevent Ogbe-Ijoh from grabbing their land through his closeness to the Governor but deliberately refused to assist. This issue was a raging battle that affected the chances of Jite in the last election. So for Ogbe-Ijoh to turn around to accuse Jite Brown of sponsoring Aladja is the height of madness. I believe those in Aladja who fought against Jite because of this Ogbe-Ijoh issue would be gnashing their teeth in regret now.”

“The veiled attempt by Akemotubo to pitch the Governor-elect, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori against the Aladja people has failed. We believe Oborevwori have the records and where he needs clarification there are people he would call to hear from and it would be made clear that Ogbe-Ijoh has been the ones truncating the peace process.”

“The IYC also attempted to make the other Urhobos feel Aladja is the aggressor party. One thing the IYC should know is that the other Urhobos know that the Ijaws of Ogbe-Ijoh, especially are a very troublesome set of people. That the other Ijaws are wary of them. That the attempt to make Urhobos see the Aladja people look like the trouble makers is a veiled way to tell the other Urhobos that once there is a breakout of fighting again the other Urhobos are not safe in the Ijaw domains. The Urhobo Progress Union would address.”

“Before this publication we have got information of the meetings they have been holding to plan the possible ways to attack Aladja. And we are aware that Chief Frank Omare; Chief Favour Zuokumor; Chief Bello Baotu; Hon. Friday Deighan ask Chief Monday Keme and many others have donated huge sums of money for them to buy more arms and ammunition in preparedness to attack Aladja in what they have tagged the ‘last push’ against Aladja where they boasted that even the Federal Government will feel the heat of what they will do to Aladja.”

“Aladja is not unaware of all these evil plans but we will not attack as we have not attacked at any time since the outbreak of hostilities. We have always be on the defensive. And the Army OCs who have been posted to the Area since 2016 when the fighting started can attest to this fact.”

“The lies that Aladja has been coming to shoot for over a week now at their territory should be investigated because it shows that they are now training some fighters in Ogbe-Ijoh. And they want to use this as an alibi in the event that the Security Agencies heard any firing of guns. Victor Akemotubo has just proven that he is one of the major expert in the merchandise of the act of lying.”

Atabuko called on security agencies to prevail on Ogbe-Ijoh community to shelf their planned attack saying that, “we (Aladje community) will not sit down and allow them take our lives and property without defending ourselves.”

Efforts to speak with the chairman of Udu local government area, Mr Jite Brown, as of press time proved abortive as his press secretary, Mr Henry Ubus, said his boss will soon issue a statement on the allegations levelled against him by the IYC.