April 8, 2024

OKUAMA KILLINGS: Residents can’t sleep with eyes closed, Urhobo communities complain to monarchs



•Urge Army to stop further persecution of innocent villagers

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South and Akpokona Omafuaire

LEADERS and representatives of Ewu, Okparabe, Arhavwarien, and other Urhobo-ethnic nationalities in Delta State, under siege by soldiers carrying out cordon-and-search operations in their communities over the March 14 killings of 17 soldiers at Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government Area have sent a Save Our Soul, SOS, to the traditional rulers of Urhoboland to save them from further harassment.

The leaders, led by Chief Vincent Oduran, Chief Sam Oborumuyere, and Prince Solomon Diodemise, the Otota of Okparebe Kingdom, told the Ukoko r’ Ivie r’ Urhobo (Urhobo Council of Traditional Rulers, headed by the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, HRM Emmanuel Sideso, Abe 1, that residents in many communities could no longer sleep with their eyes closed.

They pleaded with the monarchs to prevail on the government to allow the innocent and suffering people of Okuama return to their homeland.

READ ALSO: Okuama Killings: How Army got entangled in intra-communal, domestic feuds in N-Delta

The monarchs in a statement, entitled “Urhobo Monarchs Appeal to the Federal Government to All Innocent, Suffering Okuama People to Return Home,” said:  “Representatives of Ewu, Okparabe and Arhavwarien Kingdoms of Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State came on a ‘Save Our Soul’ visit to the Urhobo Council of Traditional Rulers.

”Chairman of Urhobo Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM Emmanuel Ekemejewa Sideso Abe 1, Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom, supported by the Ovie of Agbara-Otor, Ovie of Oghara, Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom (exco members) received them at the palace of the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom.

”The representatives chronicled the sufferings, attacks, arson, and deaths of the people of Okuama and neighboring communities, saying they could no longer sleep with their eyes closed.

”They expressed concern that the Army declared the Ovie of Ewu Kingdom, HRM Clement Ikolo, wanted over the killings and that when he surrendered himself to the Commissioner of Police, Delta State, they handed him over the innocent king to the Nigerian Army.

”The traditional rulers in a communique, after listening to the pleas of the representatives by the chairman, HRM Sideso, and Secretary, HRM Richard Oghenevwogaga Ebelle Okorefe 1 the Ovie of Agbarha-Otor said:  The Ukoko r’ Ivie Urhoblo (Urhobo Council of Traditional Rulers) restated their call for setting up an independent investigative enquiry into the immediate and remote causes of the Okuama-military incident, as this is the only way the truth can be revealed to avoid future incidence.

“The good people of Ewu Kingdom should remain calm and law-abiding as the council will ensure that no innocent person suffers unjustly.”