Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
It was not for fun that Comrade Sunny Etchie led a handful of the people of Kolokolo Community of Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State to Benin City, several miles away from their host community, to brief the media on alleged assault and destruction of their property, recently.
It is said that the rabbit does not run in the daytime, except something is chasing it.
Certainly, trouble has chased Etchie and his group out of the community.
Etchie, on his own, said the battle has gone beyond what he can personally handle and that he is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, to come to their rescue.
Addressing newsmen in Benin City during a press conference at the Talakawa Parliament, spokesperson for Kolokolo community, Comrade Etchie, said that following a protest against Chief Johnson Aseleghe, the Iyasere of Warri Kingdom, on January 9, 2020, to the Oba of Benin’s palace over his subjecting Kolokolo community to his traditional rulership, their lives and community have been under threat and series of attack.
Etchie alleged that several attack on the community by suspected hoodlums were engineered by persons believed to have been loyal to the Iyasere of Warri Kingdom.
Etchie who appealed to government at all levels said, “the protest came as a result of further threat of life and to launch another attack on us members of the community, which eventually came to pass after due notification to the AIG and other security agencies.”
He said the Kolokolo community people have reported the said Chief Johnson Aseleghe to the Secretary to Edo State Government on the lordship and unconstituted authority.
According to him, trouble started when Chief Johnson tried to stop road development from Kolokolo to Ikpako benefiting over 15 communities cutting across Ikpoba-Okha and Ovia North East Local Government, respectively.
Etchie called on the government to arrest and prosecute those involved in the attack and also compel their sponsors and chief mastermind of the attack to pay for everything lost during the attack on Kolokolo community.
He added that security agencies should ensure that lives and property be secured henceforth in the community, demanding that persons whose property were destroyed and burnt during the attack should be compensated over the loss.
“Emphatically it is on record that we Kolokolo community are in Benin Kingdom of Edo State where our allegiance is to the Oba of Benin and the Enogie of Ologbo who is the Duke of Ologbo Dukedom in line with Nigeria’s Constitution applicable in Edo state”, Etchie said.
He called on all authorities in Ologbo Dukedom, Benin Kingdom, Edo State Government and all security agencies to come to their rescue over the alleged attack on the people of Kolokolo community with a view to demanding for justice.
Responding to the allegations raised by the People of Kolokolo community, Chief Johnson debunked the claims, saying that Sunny Etchie, a fomer youth leader of the community, is not an indigene of Kolokolo community paternally.
Besides, he alleged that Etchie was involved in so many atrocities.
He said, Etchie came to the community claimining he wanted to be a timber magnate, only for him to divert and indulge in illegal bunkering activities, unknown to the members of the community who found that he was chased out of Warri by Operation Crocodile Smile.
He said the members of the community who were tired of his alleged illegal bunkering, which resulted into oil spills, resulting in damaging and destroying the ecosystem in the community, protested against him.
According to him, a resolution was taken after he absconded as he was declared wanted by the police, based on a formal report by him.
He said Etchie’s activities were brought to the knowledge of the Area Commander in Benin as well as the office of the Assistant Inspector General, (AIG) Zone 5, Benin, as most of his instruments were seized by the police, following a raid on him and his cohorts.
He said he was therefore surprised to hear that Sunny was contracted by the Edo State Gorvenor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, as he (Sunny) claimed, only to get there and discovered “he was constructing access routes through the canals to the pipe lines to continue his nefarious activities of ilegal refinery and we mobilized and destroyed all his equipments”.
The Iyasere of Warri said Etchie he has been blackmailing him with different accussations and that the Olu of Warri has also informed the Itsekiri National Youth Council to wade into the matter which has been done.