…community calls on Police to arrest suspects
By SIMON EBEGBULEM Beniny City
Youths from Iviukha in Weppa Wanno community in Etsako East Local Government Council of Edo State are beating war drums following the death of one of their sons, Oseni Ekhameye who died as a result of injuries he sustained when people from Ikpele in Okpekpe clan attacked him while working in his farm land.
One of the deceased wives, Umoru Otsemobo who incidentally hails from Okpekpe clan was not spared too as the attackers used machetes on her while she attempted to run to the farm to inform the deceased that trouble was looming. The wife is currently at the emergency ward of the University of Benin (UNIBEN).
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the incident which happened last Sunday was as a result of the controversy over the ownership of a farmland which Ekhameye and his peopled claimed ownership of and accused the people of Ikpele of encroaching into their land.
The unsuspecting Ekhameye was said to have hired some labourers who operate in groups in his community to work in the farmland that faithful day not knowing that death was looming. His assailants were said to have earlier ravaged his farmland, uprooting the crops he had few days earlier planted.
Saturday Vanguard learnt that his brutalised wife had gone to the village to report the incident of the destruction of their crops in the farm when she overheard the people planning to attack her husband at the farm. She immediately left the house of the community head where she went to make the report to race back to the farm to inform the husband of the planned attack.
But curiously, she was followed by a prominent member of the community with three newly sharpened cutlasses. Unknown to her, some youths have already laid siege at the farmland and when they heard that she was on her way to the farm, they attacked the deceased and the workers he hired with cutlasses. And under the supervision of a top community leader, the hoodlums attacked the deceased and his wife with machetes.
The the assailants inflicted deep cuts on his head and other parts of his body. The wife would also have been dead if she had not feigned death before rescuers rushed them to a hospital in Agenebode where her husband later died and she was transferred to UBTH.
When Saturday Vanguard visited the community last wednesday, there was tension as youths in the area threatened a reprisal attack, vowing not to allow the death of their son go unavenged. One of the youths told Saturday Vanguard that “ what they did to this community is evil and unacceptable. That land belongs to our brother but people in that community want to use their influence in the society to take over the ancestral land of our brother who was killed.
But we will not allow that, we will avenge his death to teach others lesson that you cannot come to this community and kill and go free. They killed our brother in a dastard manner and they will pay the price”
The leaders of the community have therefore called on the Edo State Police Command and the state government to ensure justice is done.
A statement issued by the Iviukhua Progressive Union Worldwide and signed by its President General and General Secretary, High Chief Kennedy Izuagbe and Gabriel Inaede condemned the act and narrated the incident: “ On Sunday, 13th April 2014, a group of unsuspecting farmers from Iviukhua community in Weppa Wanno, Etsako East LGA of Edo state were attacked by some Ikphele people in Okpekpe clan killing one person
and injuring a number of others over a land dispute. Mr Oseni Ekhameye, the deceased, his two wives, Mr Umoru Otsemobo who is critically injured is currently receiving treatment at UBTH. Mr Atairu Otsemobo had gone to their farm on that faithful Sunday when they were attacked by some people from the nearby Ikpehele village with an active support by specially hired urchins who inflicted matchete cuts on them. According to an
eye witness, one community leader who led the attack instructed the attackers to ensure that Mr Oseni Ekhameye was not spared. He also instructed his hired murderers including his son to ensure that the second wife of the deceased who hails from the same Ikpehele village was also not spared in order to cover up their nefarious act. We the members of Iviukhua Progressive Union worldwide, the umbrella body of all Ukhua sons and daughters at home and in the diaspora are condemning this callous act in the strongest possible terms.
We also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Nigerian police force, Edo state command to ensure that they get to the root of this matter and bring all the miscreants who perpetrated this heinous crime to justice.
“Though some arrest have been made, some of the perpetrators of this dastardly act are still at large.
Notable among them are the wife and son of the masterminder of the act, who according to eye witness inflicted the matchet cuts on the late Oseni Ekhamheye. Let us recall that similar incidents have degenerated into communal clashes in some Nigerian communities that have snowballed into unmanageable proportions but Iviukhua being a law abiding community was able to prevail on her citizens, especially the youths to prevent any reprisal attacks.
“We will like to state unequivocally that this peaceful approach by Iviukhua community must not be misconstrued for weakness. It is also important to note that Iviukhua community does not see this attack as one planned by the entire Ikpehle and Okpekpe people except if proven otherwise. Rather, we see these murderers as common enemies of both Iviukhua/Weppa Wanno people and Ikpehle/Okpekpe people.
We therefore call on both communities to close ranks and cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to get the fleeing suspects arrested so that the law can take its natural course. We also call on our peace loving Iviukhua community to remain calm and law abiding as we have utmost fate in the Nigerian police and the legal system to redress this heinous act.”
The Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Eguavone (DSP) confirmed the incident to Saturday Vanguard, saying that “it was a reported case of wounded persons originally but the victim eventually died while receiving treatment. The case was first reported at Agenebode Division before it was transferred to the state CID. Arrests have been made and the police will ensure that justice is done and those who are found culpable prosecuted accordingly”.