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Market ownership tussle: Delta community accuses JTF of complicity

….It’s not true —JTF

By Festus Ahon & Perez Brisibe

UGHELLI—THE Otor-Iwhreko community, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State, has accused men of the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, 222 Battalion, Agbarha-Otor of complicity in the crisis involving it and the Ekuigbo community over the ownership of the Ughelli main market.

A community source told Vanguard that the councillor representing Ekuigbo, Mr Simeon Unuefepha, accosted one Johnmack Otorkhra, a youth from Otor-Iwhreko, who was said to be buying jerricans at the market on Sunday and accused him of collecting revenue from a trader despite the restraining order by the state Ministry of Justice on both communities to desist from such act.

Saying that the argument which ensued led to a fight between the youth and the councillor, the source who does not want his name in print, alleged that the councillor stormed the community on Tuesday with two pickup load of soldiers and destroyed some chairs in the Otor-Iwhreko community town hall.

The JTF has, meanwhile, denied the allegation of complicity, saying that its men were in the community to keep peace.

Contacted, the Otor-Iwhereko community chairman, Mr. Felix Okoro, said: “An indigene of my community, Otorkhra was at the market buying jerrycans when he was accosted by Mr. Unuefepha in company of others, who accused him of collecting levies from traders leading to a fight after which it was resolved only for us to hear on Monday about 8a.m., that soldiers from the 222 Battalion have destroyed our community town hall.”

A senior officer attached to the 222 Battalion, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that when officers of the battalion got to the scene, Mr. Otorkhra in company of other youths fled the scene.

Saying that four Otor-Iwhereko youths were arrested on Monday morning in connection with the incident, the officer, said “When the Commanding Officer was passing the market on Monday morning, he saw some set of youths collecting revenue from traders in the market and subsequently arrested them.”



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