March 25, 2016

Ogbe-Ijoh/Aladja boundary clash: Police Division Htrs sacked, armoury looted

Ogbe-Ijoh/Aladja boundary clash: Police Division Htrs sacked, armoury looted

Nigerian troops take position during a demonstration by All Progressives Congress (APC) party supporters calling for the cancellation of the presidential election in Port Harcourt in the Rivers State on March 29, 2015. Thousands of supporters of Nigeria’s main opposition party demonstrated in the southern state of Rivers, calling for the cancellation of elections locally because of alleged irregularities. AFP PHOTO

By Egufe Yafugborhi, Akpokona Omafuaire & Perez Brisibe

WARRI—THE Police Divisional Headquarters in Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State was sacked, yesterday and its armoury looted by youths in the community before waging war on neighbouring Aladja community, Udu Local Government Area, in renewed hostilities over their lingering boundary disputes.

When contacted on the development, the Police Public Relations Officer in Delta State,  Celestina Kalu, said that the situation was under control, but sources among military personnel who moved in after the police were overwhelmed by the invading youths, said a house had been torched in Aladja and residents were fleeing in droves to neighbuoring Udu communities.

Coordinator, Concerned Members for Peace in Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom, Friday Deinghan, speaking on the renewed hostilities, said: “One Freedom from Ogbe-Ijoh is lying critically injured as a result of the clash. But for the quick intervention of soldiers, there would have been a total breakdown of law and order in the area.

“The area under contention has been declared a buffer zone, but  some Aladja persons took blocks and sand there that they want to erect structures and the evidences are there. This morning Aladja people started restricting people from passing to Ogbe-Ijoh and beating up our people. Before we knew it, they started advancing to Ogbe-Ijoh and there was some skirmish.”

However, Udu council chairman, Chief Solomon Kpoma, told Vanguard that from what he gathered from the Udu Divisional Police Officer, “Aladja women who went to farm in the area were attacked and molested by Ogbe-Ijoh youths. Usually when that happens, Aladja people would not want Ogbe-Ijoh people to pass to their farms through the community to their land.

“There might have been some restriction in movement in response to the attack on the community’s women and the situation escalated to the point we are now. I was in Aladja this morning to mobilise the leaders for a truce meeting with the other side,” he said.

There was no clear position on the casualty figure at press time,  but several persons have been reportedly wounded with many fleeing Aladja to neighbouring Udu communities.

At press time, a peace meeting involving chairmen of Udu council for Aladja, his Warri South-West counterpart for Ogbe-Ijoh and 10 representatives from the two warring communities was convened by Mr Mohammed M’uazu, in charge of Warri Area Command of the Nigeria Police.