By Emma Amaize
WARRI—THREE indigenes of Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, were reportedly kidnapped, weekend, as the dispute between Urhobo and Ijaw communities in the state worsened.
Those abducted were Mr. Gbolei Andrew, at Ovwian Expressway Junction at 5p.m.; Ebiarede Ponmo and Izonfa Abun, who were fishing along the Warri River, close to Aladja community at 4a.m., yesterday.
The youth wing of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, Udu chapter, led by Sunday Subi, had recently given a seven-day ultimatum to Ijaw indigenes in Udu to vacate the area.
An Ogbe Ijoh leader told Vanguard that the chairman of Ogbe Ijoh Zonal Committee, Elder Freewei Makirigbene, informed the community about the kidnap and the matter had been reported to security agencies in Ogbe-Ijoh.
At press time, tension had mounted at Ogbe-Ijoh following an unconfirmed report that armed men have been recruited to kidnap and assassinate some prominent leaders of the community.
The source, however, hinted: “Ogbe-Ijoh people will certainly not fold their hands if the relevant government agencies refuse to secure their release.”
We did’t kill, kidnap anyone— Ogbe-Ijoh
Meanwhile, Ogbe-Ijoh community, yesterday, said it knew nothing about the killing and kidnap of Urhobo indigenes as alleged by an Urhobo youth leader.
Chairman of Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom Governing Council, Alex Akemotubo (Esq.), in a statement, said: “The attention of Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom Governing Council has been drawn to publications, both in the print and the social media, alleging that some Urhobo indigenes were killed and others still missing in the wake of renewed communal crisis between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja on one hand, and Isaba and Aladja on the other hand.
“These allegations by the youth wing of Urhobo Progress Union, Udu chapter, by one Sunday Subi, is too weighty to be ignored, hence this clarification.
“We, therefore, appeal to the leadership of Urhobo Progress Union to call its youth wing in Udu to order and urge security agencies in the state to investigate this allegation by inviting Sunday Subi as Ogbe-Ijoh people know nothing about dead or missing Urhobo indigenes in the wake of renewed hostilities between Isaba and Aladja communities.
“We view this claim as cheap blackmail and attempt to introduce ethnic colouration to get sympathy from the larger Urhobo ethnic nationality.”