Communal Crisis Looms In Delta Communities
By Our Correspondent
Communal crisis is now looming between Egbo-Uhurie and Otokutu communities in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.
It was gathered that trouble started recently between the two communities when one Chief Daniel Tokutu allegedly stormed the over fifty acres of land belonging to one Jonathan Kpeji with his hired youths and when he was accosted he was said to have told members of Jonathan Kpeji that the land in question belongs to him.
It was learnt that feeling aggrieved, members of Kpeji family reported the matter to the police at Otughievwen and both families were summoned by the police for a peace meeting.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), SP Oghenedoro, according to our checks dispatched his men to the boundary land between the two communities and ordered a halt to any development going on.
But it was further gathered that the hired youths from a neighboring local government area were adamant about the directive of the DPO, insisting that only their master can get them out of the land.
A source alleged that another meeting was convened on Sunday, January 24, 2016 where the two parties were implored to maintain the peace and thereafter a bulldozer operator working for Chief Daniel Tokutu earlier arrested was released on bail.
“But to the surprise of both the police and the communities, Chief Daniel Tokutu brought out a second bulldozer and commenced work again on the disputed land and he scared everybody away with sporadic shootings,” our source alleged.
Things, our source claimed took different dimension when the hired staged a comeback by storming the disputed land through creeks and thick bushes, bypassing a Police Post at Egbo-Otokutu and allegedly invaded Egbo Community.
In the process, it was learnt,one life was allegedly lost, many were injured,a house razed and property destroyed.
Our correspondent reports that an uneasy calm has enveloped Egbo-Uhurie community while Otokutu community has been deserted for fear of possible reprisal attacks.
Our source said that; “The situation at the moment calls for urgent security attention to forestall further hostilities. A serious community crisis is looming and the situation should be arrested now before it gets out of control.”
Efforts to reach Chief Daniel Otokutu for his reaction were not successful.
But the President-General of Otokutu Community, Chief Alex Evuetapha said Chief Daniel Tokutu was on his own saying he has no backing of the community for his action.
Contacted on telephone, the Warri Area Commander of Police, ASP Mohammed Muazu dismissed the claim that a life was lost in the crisis,saying there was no cause for alarm as the situation has been brought under control.
He told our Correspondent that; “No life was lost in the incident. The Soldiers and Police were fully mobilised to the affected communities and their presence averted the crisis from escalating. Those that were injured were taken to the hospital, they were treated and discharged while others are still in admission in the hospital. The two parties have been brought to the office of the DPO for settlement. The crisis was as a result of royalty paid by Chevron Nigeria Limited, this is why the two communities are laying claim to the land where the facilities of the Company passes through. But they have to remain peaceful as there is no alternative to peace. The two parties will meet again in the office of the Divisional Police Officer(DPO) for final settlement. Peace has been restored to the two communities as I speak to you”.