March 6, 2020

Two die, Edo community deserted as Itsekiri/Benins clash over development levy

By Ozioruva Aliu

TWO persons are feared dead and several others injured in Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha local government area as a result of a clash between Itsekiri and Bini youths in oil-rich Ologbo community in Ikpoba-Okha local government area.

The entire community was deserted when journalists visited the community Friday as soldiers were sighted patrolling the place. Commercial activities were paralysed as hostilities resumed following reprisal attacks on some Itsekiri youths.

The busy streets in the community including the market were empty and shops were locked up and the town was devoid of any human activities.

As at the time of the visit, many residents locked themselves indoors while others were said to have temporarily relocated to neighbouring villages.

But the leader of the Itsekiri in the area, Chief Johnson Atseleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri, blamed boys loyal to the Enogie (Duke) of Ologbo as the cause of the crisis.

According to him, “The cause of this latest clash is caused by the Enogie of Ologbo boys. Somebody was laying a foundation for a building and some boys led by Osazuwa went there to collect ‘deve’.

“The man said he has N30,000 but they refused and demanded N100,000. The man is my in-law. My son went there and offered additional N20,000. They still refused. Before they know what happened, they shot my son and two others.

“One of the boys they shot is a big shot in eiye confraternity. It now escalated to a cult war. A lot of people are now in hospital. The police has intervened. We signed a peace accord. The Commissioner of Police told us to address our people. I came but the Enogie did not come.

“After the peace accord, we came and got report that they have destroyed some Itsekiri houses in town. They burnt their property. The major problem we are having is the Enogie boys. They used the palace as refuge. We begged the Enogie to ask the boys to leave the Palace.

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“The fight in Enogie palace is cult fight. It is not our boys. Our boys going to work today were attacked. If he used his palace as place for cultists, the other rival group will come there to attack.”

Councillor representing Ologbo in Ikpoba-Okha, Felix Edogiawere said steps have been taken to curb the crisis with the move to arrest key players in the crisis.

“It was one Osazuwa that went to collect development money. He went to where they were building a house and demanded money. That was how the fight started. Prince Johnson’s son, Giwa went to asked Osazuwa why he went to demand money.

“There was no attack at the Enogie Palace. They shot one boy. He is dead now. They went to attack another man and used a machete to inflict injuries on him.”

A visit to the palace of the Enogie showed a deserted palace with some youths sitting around the premises where some of them said they were not cultists but free borns of Ologbo community.

Agbon Omorodion whose brother was killed said, “My brother was taking his bath at home when some Itsekiri went to shoot him. He was shot in the chest and they used an axe to cut him. They came to the palace and fought the Bini youths. We had to run away.

“It was development fees issue that caused the crisis. The boys went there and did not see the owner. They came back. Some Itsekiri boys came and demanded why the boy went there saying the land is owned by the Itsekiris. We tried to separate them and the fight escalated.

“We have not killed anybody from Itsekiri. We are waiting for an order from our Enogie. Osarumwense Osaghae said his brother was shot in the leg.