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Aladja leaders accuse Ogbe-Ijoh of misinformation, urge Gov Oborevwori to intervene in land dispute

Leaders of Aladja community in Udu Local Government Area have called on RT Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the Governor of Delta State, to step in and mediate the intensifying boundary dispute with the Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South West Local Government Area.

Aladja leaders assert that recent statements by Ogbe-Ijoh youths are misleading and could potentially trigger another communal crisis.

In a recent address to journalists, Comrade Shell Okakotu Godfirst, President of Aladja community, expressed grave concerns about the misinformation propagated by Ogbe-Ijoh youths.

He emphasized that these falsehoods could lead to violence, although the Aladja people are dedicated to maintaining peace, particularly after the recent Okuama crisis.

“This land dispute has persisted for decades. The Ogbe-Ijoh originally resided in Warri Township. They were displaced following a quit order signed by W.E.B. Copland Crawford on October 21, 1895, leading them to seek land from Aladja between 1900 and 1906,” Okakotu explained.

Okakotu detailed that Aladja community, established in the area since the 14th century, granted the Ogbe-Ijoh people land along the Ogubulebu creek.

“However, tensions erupted in 1996, prompting numerous government panels to attempt resolution. Panels led by figures such as Hon. Justice Dan Azinge, Hon. Justice Nwulu, and Professor Ekoko worked to delineate the traditional boundaries between the communities,” he said.

Apostle Lucky Figbele, the Oghuvwie-Ode of Aladja Community, highlighted the thorough work of Professor Ekoko’s panel, which included the State Surveyor General and other technical staff.

“The panel identified the disputed area as 1,229.86 hectares, significantly larger than the 289.90 hectares claimed by the Ogbe-Ijoh community,” Figbele noted.

The Ekoko panel recommended an equal division of the land, a solution accepted by the Delta State Executive Council.

Despite a recent demarcation agreement by a committee set up by the current administration, Figbele pointed out that Ogbe-Ijoh representatives reneged on the agreement.

“After Aladja representatives left the meeting, the Ogbe-Ijoh representatives began marking disputed areas that included Aladja farmlands and public facilities as part of the new demarcation areas,” he explained.

Mr. Reuben Doro, Chairman of the Aladja Welfare Movement, also voiced his concerns, stating that the current boundary marking efforts by Ogbe-Ijoh youths are unfair and could exacerbate the conflict.

He urged the Delta State Government to act swiftly to prevent further deterioration of the situation.

Doro warned that the patience of Aladja’s youth is being tested, particularly with their ancestral homes and cultural heritage at risk.

Comrade Okakotu reiterated the detrimental impact of the misinformation campaign by Ogbe-Ijoh youths, noting that it complicates the resolution process.

“We appeal to the Delta State government to enforce the original demarcation, starting from Major-General RM Dumuje’s canal to the Ogubulebu Creek, as previously agreed upon, for a fair resolution of this lingering crisis,” Okakotu urged.

“The Aladja community has formally communicated their concerns to Governor Oborevwori and relevant security agencies.

“They have received official acknowledgements of their letter titled: “The Land Dispute between Aladja, Udu Local Government Area and Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri South West Local Government Area: Facts of the Matter.”

“As tensions escalate, Aladja community leaders remain hopeful that Governor Oborevwori’s intervention will lead to a peaceful and just resolution to the longstanding dispute,” he said.