Ben Dunno, Warri
An umbrella body of concerned Urhobo youths, the Urhobo Security Network (USN), has advised that the Delta State Government to revert to the report of the Prof. Abednego Ekoko-led Panel of Inquiry set up in May 2016 on the Aladja/Ogbe ijoh crisis, if truly it was sincere about finding lasting solution to the age long feud.
The group lamented the huge number of lives that have been lost and the negative effect on development, investment and the economy of both communities.
It stated that the matter would have been resolved long ago if the government had handled it with the sincerity, objectivity and urgency it deserves.
Speaking after an enlarged security meeting of the various youth bodies that made up the group in Warri, the National Commander of USN, Comrade Itolddem Daghware, noted that the importance of security to national development cannot be overe-mphasised.
According to him, “it is embarrassing that a state which prides herself as “The Big Heart” has failed for such a very long time to resolve a boundary dispute between two neighboring communities within her geographical space”.
“While we admit that the Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh crisis has been since the 1990s and inherited by the present administration, it would be a credit to the Senator Okowa led-government if he can find a lasting solution to the crisis”.
“The Governor is the chief security officer of the state and he ought to give peace and security the highest premium among his priorities. It is an indictment on this government that the Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh crisis has remained unresolved two years after the professor Ekoko led panel was set up”.
He held that the organization prioritises brotherliness and peaceful coexistence with Urhobo neighbours and operate under the blessings of the three pillars holding the Urhobo nation namely the Traditional Rulers’ Council, the Presidents General Forum as well as the Urhobo Progress Union.
“The Organisation also works in synergy with the government security agencies in the region including the Army, Police, and the State Security Service (SSS)”, he stated.
Speaking in the same vein, the publicity secretary of the Group and public affairs analyst Comr. Peter Sane Darah warned against the politicization of the Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh boundary dispute holding that there must be some hidden reasons behind the delay in the issuing of the whitepaper by the government on the crisis.
He said members of Urhobo Security Network has made investigative calls to the leaders of Aladja community and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) at different times on the matter where details of the Ekoko Panel of Inquiry Report were revealed, the implementation of which would have showed the government’s seriousness in resolving the situation.
Comrade Darah who is the immediate past chairman of Esaba community in Ughelli South L.G.A and an alumnus of the Delta State University condemned the recent threat by one self-styled “Gen. Ebi” to blow up oil wells and undermine the peace building efforts in the region if the state government did not decide the case in favour of the Ijaws.
“It is the considered view of Urhobo Security Network, acting on behalf of the peace loving people of the Urhobo nation to find a peaceful resolution to the lingering Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh crisis rather than through war and deadly quarrels, which in the end favours no one”.
“But if the Ijaw people through some self-styled “General” think they can get away with some careless statements and threats directed not only at the Urhobo nation but which implicates the country at large, then they have to be told that no one has the monopoly of violence and uncivil behavior, and the gentle movement of the tiger must not be interpreted to mean weakness”.
“We know the amount of plea we have put in to make the leadership of Aladja community allow for the proposed acquisition of the “arbitrary” boundary by the government considering that in truth, the entire territory belongs to Aladja people”.
“If the Ogbe-Ijoh people fail to appreciate the sacrifice made by the Aladja people in the interest of peace, then we shall choose the path leading to collective and mutual annihilation which they seem to prefer, and we shall then see who loses in the end”, he concluded.