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Ijaw youth, semi-nude women chase away police officers, workers from Gelegele

trespassers would be dealt with —Edo govt

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South

BENIN CITY —IJAW youth and scantily dressed women, Tuesday, chased away over 25 police officers and workers sent to build residential estates for the Oba of Benin at Gelegele-gbene (Gelegele), a community in  Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, which has been in contention between the Ijaw and Bini in the state.

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The police officers were to provide security for the workers, but Gelegele natives, mainly Ijaw, did not find the reason for their visit and action of commencing a housing project funny.

National President of  Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, Austin Ozobo, claimed that the Oba of Benin sent people to the community to commence the construction of residential estates, adding that it was provocative, hence the villagers pursued the over 50 police officers from the community.

Trespassers’ll be dealt with —Edo govt

Meanwhile, the state government, while reacting to the development, yesterday, through Special Adviser to Edo State Governor, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said any land allocated to the Oba for any project had been allocated, warning that trespassers would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the state.

According to him, Governor Godwin Obaseki is vested with the powers to oversee lands in the state and therefore, in a position to allocate lands without hindrance.

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He noted that the state government set up the Private Property Protection Task Force to protect people’s land from being trespassed upon, adding that no individual had the right to trespass on other people’s property.

Sources said the workers had started laying blocks when the youths and women mobilised and chased them out of the community. They also seized land document in their possession.

The seized document, Vanguard gathered, yesterday,  include a plan showing proposed site for residential estates for the Oba of Benin at Gelegele village area, covering an area of 300 hectares.

IYC cautions Edo govt, Oba of Benin, security agencies

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has cautioned Edo State Government, Oba of Benin and security agencies to wary of their actions in Gelegele so as not to stir unnecessary crisis.

Secretary, IYC, Western zone, Doubra Okotete, in a statement, said Ijaw youth condemned in totality the invasion of Gelegele gbene community by Benin people desperate “to map out land to site a palace for the Oba of Benin, a community that does not belong to Benin kingdom.

“For the records once again, Gelegele (Gelegele gbene) is one of the most ancient historical Ijaw communities of Ovia North East of Edo State, Gelegele community (Gelegele-gbene) is an ancient Olodiama Ijaw-speaking community founded by Pa Olugbo Ikpiti several centuries ago.

“Gelegele is a border community between Ijaw communities and Edo communities on one hand and also it is a boundary community of Olodiama clan and Egbema clan of Delta and Edo states. The Bini monarch has often time planned to assimilate Gelegele gbene, hence the incessant invasion and harassment meted on the Gelegele people by the Oba.” of Benin.

“The entire Ijaw nation is aware of the scheming and manipulations to lay claim to the community so as to share the wealth that accrues to it due to the attention that Federal Government and International community accord it as oil -producing community in Edo state. The other reason is the proposed establishment of a seaport and a new satellite town in Gelegele community.”

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