By Dayo Johnson

IJAW leaders (Izons) of Okomu Kingdom in Edo State, under the aegis of Okomu and Ijaw Emancipation Movement, have called for the urgent intervention by the relevant security agencies over the invasion and attack of their community by armed persons and some alleged security personnel.

The leader of the movement, who is the Soweibiwei of Okomu, Chief Lawrence Yanboh alleged that some suspected armed security personnel, “besieged the quiet and peaceful Okomu Community in four gunboats.”

Yanboh alleged that the houses, buildings and vehicles belonging to leaders of the community were destroyed, their outboard engines carted away and stores were looted during the invasion.

He, however, accused some traitors in Okomu of aiding the invasion.

He noted that himself, Chief Ologuma Sanky, Chief Godspower Yanbor and Engr. Jomini Jafa l’s houses were invaded and huge sums of cash were taken away by the invaders, while two vehicles and a Yamaha 9.9 outboard engine belonging to Mr Segun Ogori were taken away.

Also affected were Alfred Yanbor and Tobei Realm, whose store was looted and cash was stolen.

Stores belonging to Ebiaye Yanbor and Samuel Yanbor were looted, while the buildings of Dimiyen Makilolo, Ugula Abula and Godfrey Sankey were vandalised.

The store of Mama Yema was looted aside destroying her building while the treasurer, of Coop society, Mercy Lawrence Yanbor had her cash stolen.

He said: “They selectively, invaded the houses of persons identified as members of the movement or supportive of the agitation, where properties, including vehicles as well as shops, worth several millions of naira, were destroyed.

“Several persons have been rendered homeless and subjected to living in the nearby bushes with the attendant exposure to hunger and starvation, and health hazards or even death. Individuals and their properties that were ascertained to have been destroyed and or lost.

“About three weeks before the invasion, a section of the leadership of the movement comprising himself, Chief Godspower Yanbor, Ogori and Jomini Jafa had left for the Gbaramatu Kingdom, where they sojourned and were, to appeal for solidarity, before the incident occurred.

“The Okomu and Ijaw Emancipation Movement had, sometime around April/May 2021, cried out against the oppression of the Ijaws and the Okumu Kingdom in Edo State, and gave the Edo State Government a 21-day ultimatum to address their demands which are: The return to Okomu of the crocodile (Igere) of the Okomu people by the Iyase of Ude community which was taken from the Okomu people in 1980; the creation of Okomu Local Government Council Area which had been recommended by the boundary adjustment commission years ago.

“The immediate recognition of the Okomu traditional institution and in particular, the Pere of Okomu. The immediate establishment of at least Five Primary Schools and 4 Secondary Schools in the Okomu Kingdom.

“It is unfortunate that none of these demands has been met until this sudden invasion to suppress the agitation or struggle.

“The Movement remains undeterred and shall continue its struggle until Jesus comes, therefore, the Federal Government is called to urgently look into this matter before it degenerates into something else.”

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