LAND GRABBING: One Feared Dead, Others injured as Duke Sacks Youth Leader in Edo Community.
By Innocent Okoh.
23 Sept, 2021.
The residents of Uselu N’Ahor Village, Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State, are now leaving in total fear after some identified Gunmen with Ak-47 allegedly attacked the members of the newly sworn-in plot allotment committee constituted by the Duke of the community, HRH, Osaro Omoregie, on Tuesday, 14th of Sept.
This is happening despite the ban on the carrying of Ak-47 rifle, by president Muhammadu Buhari, few months ago, due to the rising cases of banditry in the country, the president had commanded all security agents to arrest or shoot at sight any person found carrying the Ak-47 rifle.
The Duke, who spoke to Wonderful Media Communication, disclosed that he has since fled the community, for fear of being killed, as he alleged that the former youth leader, (Okaigele), Michael Enotiomwan, popularly called Akpan, brought in some boys to unleash terror on the newly sworn-in plot allotment committee members and himself is not an exemption.
HRH Omoregie, further alleged that the said Akpan, is reselling landed property already sold by him, a situation that has resulted to many court cases which has truncated the development program of the community, he added that they have found out that the former Okaigele, sold some particular parcel of land to more than two persons thereby creating confusion and dispute in the community.
According to him, “the Enotiomwan, we are talking about, he was my former Okaigele, but today he has chased me out of the community, and am hiding here and there because I don’t want him to kill me, he brought boys into the community to take over the community.”
He went further to explain what caused the war in Uselu N’Ahor Village, “What really caused this problem is that he will sell land to two to three persons, so I called him to tell him to stop selling land in the community and there is a ban on it by the government, and you don’t have right to sell land again as Okaigele, despite that you have sold all the land, please stop it and don’t do it again, that is why he now brought boys from different places to come and be shooting people and destroying property.”
The Duke who said he is currently afraid to stay in his community because he doesn’t want to be killed by the gunmen, appealed to the state government and the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 2, to come to the aid of his Community currently taken over by gunmen. “Am crying to the government and the Oba to come and help me from this boy called Akpan, and his boys for them not to kill me.”
He alleged that one Awol soldier and others who he identified as Uyi and Ekhuntomen, are among the boys terrorizing the village, with assorted guns and rifles.
Corroborating what the Duke said, the leader of the plot allotment committee, Best Osahien, he said the former youth leader, hired some boys with Ak-47 rifle to shoot his boys whom the Duke assigned to investigate issues of land grabbing, he added that they are full indigenes of the community. He said they are worried over one of their member who is currently missing after he was shot on the faithful day they were attacked.
He further said that they have reported the matter to Uregbeni and Egba police division and the state headquarters including the 4th mechanize brigade of the Nigeria army in Benin city, he alleged that one suspect was apprehended and taken to the area command at Uregbeni but was soon released after the said Akpan paid heavily for his release and the suspect is currently in the community boasting that no police can arrest him.
According to him, ” As I speak there are nobody in my community apart from the boys hired by Akpan. We are begging the security agencies, the state government and the Oba of Benin to come to our rescue, so that our elders and women can return back to the community and start going about their normal business.
Narrating his own account of the attack, one of the victims of the attack, Osamede Udobor, “When we got to the sight where the Enogie, (Duke) sent us to, we discovered that Akpan have resold one of the land already sold by the Enogie, and the new buyer have started building on the land, as I was about to drive out while others wait for me to reverse, Akpan in company of some boys alighted from two cars.”
“He pointed at me, saying am the hit man and gave one Ak-47 rifle to them to shoot at me, they started firing at me, burst all my tyres, I came out of the car and they moved closer and fired directly at me and shot me on my legs with the Ak-47, then I fainted the next thing was to find myself in the hospital.”
Meanwhile in the x-ray carried out on the legs, over 15 bullets need to be operated from the legs.
In an earlier publication, Michael Enotiomwan accused the Enogie of persistently terrorizing them with all manner of actions to stampede them from the Village, for reasons best known to him alone.
He said the situation climaxed about a week ago when the mercenaries the Enogie imported into the Village attempted the life of one Eric Enotiomwan shooting at him; and two others. The victims are now lying critically ill in the hospital, he said.
He accused the Enogie of unilaterally selling the farm land of the natives, after collecting the sum of N5,000 from them to enable him appropriately map and share amongst them.
It would be recalled that in July 2021, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has signed into law the bill to repeal the Edo State Private Property Protection Law 2017 and re-enact the Edo State Private Property Protection Law 2021.
On the amended private property protection law 2017, the governor noted that “this law affects law and order in the State. With this law, we are not only banning the Community Development Associations (CDAs) but also all sorts of splinter groups like Okaigele or people who have come up to forcefully take other people’s landed properties in their communities.
But the decision by the state government didn’t go down well with the Okaigele forum, who soon took to the street in protest against the decision calling on the Oba of Benin to intervene and since then nothing has been said about the ban until recently when the Duke of Uselu n ahor, removed the Youth Leader known as the Okaigele.
The state police spokesperson, SP Kontongs Bello, told our reporter that the matter hasn’t been reported to the police, though he said the police is going to look into the illegal possession of firearm but won’t interfare in the leadership tussle in the community.