By Innocent Anaba
The crisis rocking the Irri Development Union, IDU, an umbrella body of indigenes of Irri community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, appears far from being over, given the accusation and counter-accusation trailing alleged killings in the town.

Meanwhile, some indigenes of the town have petitioned the Inspector General of Police, alleging the take over of the town’s association by persons they accused of using the police to harass and intimidate peace loving members of the town.

Gowon Adebe...One of the victims of an attack related to the crisis

Under the aegis of Victims and Concerned Irri Indigenes, VCII, the indigenes claimed in the petition that IDU, under Chief Joshua Uturu as its President – General, had opposed moves to form a youth wing in 2009, which he argued was against the constitution of the union, even though he won his election.

According to the petitioners, being dissatisfied with the outcome of the election and the failure of their attempt to impose a youth president on the community, some influential members of the community and the youths loyal to them, threatened violence and bloodshed on the community.

As if in fulfillment of the  threat, the group alleged that between September 15 and November 30, 2009, six persons were killed and their bodies deposited in a mortuary.

The names of the deceased were given as Harrison Uzokpa, killed on September 15; Peter Aruno, September 17; Edwina Umukoro (f), September 19; Johah Okadho, September 27;  Clement  Oghighe, September 30; and  Ejime  Oso (f).

Nine suspects

These cases, according to the petitioners, were reported to the divisional police headquarters, Oleh, Delta State, and about nine suspects were arrested, while others ran away. The cases were eventually transferred to Delta Police Command, Asaba, the petitioners added.

According to them, while the police in Delta State were still looking for them, some of the suspects at large, found their way to Abuja to present some trumped-up allegations against the President– General, Chief Uturu and some of the deceased families.

“Their false allegations made  SARS, Abuja to invite the President–General, executives and council of elders of Irri community to assist in unraveling the truth concerning the case,” the petitioners said.

“Eventually, Chief Uturu and five other people were surprisingly detained, because they were framed on false allegation of killing one Eferare. The SARS men, Abuja have instead invited and detained relatives of the deceased persons, who are mourning and supposed to be the complainants.

“Chief Uturu and five persons were eventually charged to court and remanded at Kwale prison until recently when he was granted bail on health grounds. Ironically, Chief Uturu and five others who are the aggrieved and bereaved are the ones being hounded, while the real suspects are walking the street freely.”

They further alleged that having achieved one of their major objectives of getting Uturu out of the way, these people unleashed bloodshed on the community.

They want the Inspector General of Police to use his good offices to look into the circumstances leading to the deaths of those five persons murdered and allegation of fraud perpetrated by SARS, Abuja leading to non- investigation of the murder of the six deceased persons deposited in the mortuary, in 2009 to ensure a proper investigation into this matter to cause justice to be done and prosecute all those who are indicted in this matter.

According to the petitioners, “Uturu’s house was set on fire, while property and household property worth N400m were destroyed and looted. It is worthy of note, that Mr. Solomon Ogbogbo (Director in the Ministry of Sports) Delta State  was murdered in a heart-wrenching manner in the presence of witnesses.

The petitioners linked the crisis in the town to the presence of Nigeria Agip Oil and Gas Company and its activities in the community, as this group of persons, had employed falsehood and violence to force Agip to recognise them as leaders and representatives of Irri community, all for selfish and material gains.

The petitioners further said, “we recommend that the only way to save the Irri community from being plunged into a state of nature is to adopt a drastic measure at ensuring that all the criminals are arrested and their sponsors fished out and brought to justice. The community for two years now cannot tell the colour of peace as peace has eluded the community, we now sleep with our eyes wide open even at night, while others are in exile for fear of being killed.”

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