By Emma Amaize & Perez Brisibe
ABRAKA—There is tension between Abraka community, Ethiope East Local Government Area, Delta State and Presco Plc Nigeria, an Edo State-based agricultural firm, following alleged shooting of some mobile police officers, seizure of an AK-47 rifle, razing of vehicles and destruction of the company’s seedlings by armed youths.
However, the lawmaker representing Ethiope East in Delta State House of Assembly, Evance Ivwurie, has denied allegation that Abraka people not only shot and injured police officers, but snatched their rifle as alleged on May 10.
A Presco official, who spoke to Vanguard on the crisis, said: “There was an attack by Abaraka youths on May 10 about 11:55a.m. Both genders participated in the attack with more than 800 youths scattered all over K, L and M blocks and all armed with machete and guns.
“Workers in the blocks were chased with sporadic shootings. In the cause of our defence for lives and properties of the company, we incurred the followings: “Three mobile police officers, three organic security operatives and one driver were shot and received multiple lacerated knife cuts, which in the process a mobile police officer’s riffle was snatched.
“The chief security officer’s vehicle was sprayed with bullets which damaged the windscreen; one dozer, a long vehicle for conveying of workers, a small truck for conveying seedlings and one private motorcycle owned by a worker were burnt, while one of the company’s tractors was damaged alongside one contract’s vehicle.
“Several workers received bullet wounds and were also rushed to hospital in Eku and all planted seedlings in some fields in L block were rooted and cut to pieces maliciously.”
Reacting, Ivwurie said: “I want to state here that this story is not true, what is true here is that Presco officials and its security agents invaded the farmland of Abraka, Eku, Igun and Okpara people all in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State.”
“Presco had invaded farmlands belonging to the people and is currently occupying the area with security agents. It is not true that unarmed youth from the area attacked security agents of Presco, who are officially armed by government.
“We have been crying to the Inspector General of Police, IGP and the Federal Government to hold Presco responsible and send away all the police men and security agents that it had used to invade our farmland.
“The police are complaining that they do not have men to police Nigeria but Presco alone has over 300 policemen in these farmlands. Our people have no access to AK47 and they never snatched any gun or rifle from any security personnel in that farm.”