•4 residents wounded, house, vehicle destroyed
•Youths, brandishing dangerous weapons, shoot erratically
•Police, Army intervene to quell turmoil
By Paul Olayemi, OTONYASERE
LEADERS and youths of Otonyasere and Abigborodo communities in Sapele and Warri North local government areas, Delta State, freely used guns, cutlasses, axes and knives, while community leaders, including former local government chairman and serving councillor, exchanged blows in an orgy of violence that rocked both communities, last week, over land.
About four persons were reportedly injured, a house and Toyota car destroyed in the clash over ownership of a portion of land along Otonyasere-Abigborodo road, where Seplat Energy Plc office is situated.
Curiously, residents of both communities had lived and farmed on the contentious land before the clash.
The clash which triggered panic last Thursday, resulted in heavy gridlock with inhabitants of Otonyasere fleeing their homes as rampaging youths from the two communities brandished dangerous weapons.
Prompt intervention of Divisional Police Officer, Sapele, CSP Harrison Nwabuisi, and men, who were later assisted by soldiers from the Nigerian Army in Koko, was what mitigated the orchestrated disaster.
Otonyasere and Abigborodo communities have laid claim to ownership of the land for some time now with the larger Sapele – Okpe insisting Otonyasere belongs to it.
Last week’s clash was said to have started after youths from Abigborodo community mounted a road block on the contentious land.
Otonyasere youths mobilised to the area to pull apart the road block, an action that led to a free for all by youths of the two communities with every object in sight turned to weapon.
Ex-LG chair allegedly blows councillor
Leaders of the communities, who stormed the scene were also said to have thrown punches too, as an enraged former local government chairman hit a serving councillor.
The rumpus continued the next day with the youths engaging in another clash, this time shooting at each other, while weapons like cutlass, axe and knife were openly paraded before the police intervened yet again.
When NDV visited the scene, youths were found flaunting their weapons with palm fronds tied around their heads, while security agents paraded the area.
Let peace reign — Inoaghan, Asekutu
Chairmen of Warri North and Sapele local government areas, Hon. Smart Asekutu and Hon. Eugene Inoaghan respectively, who visited the scene called on the communities to let peace reign, saying: “We are brothers, let peace reign please,” they both pleaded, while holding hands.”
Stay off contentious land —Delta Government
Meanwhile, Delta State Government has directed the feuding communities to stay off the disputed land.
In a memo last Thursday, Secretary to the Delta State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, stated that government was taking appropriate measures to contain the situation and called on those involved to cease hostilities while maintaining law and order.