Friday, March 11, 2016

Edo, Delta Boundary Dispute: A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Written by Okotie Felix: The continued silence posture of the Federal Government over a disputed community and land, Overe Eku (Iwevbo), an Urhobo community, whose people has their root from Eku, Ethiope East local government area of Delta state, connote nothing but a government waiting for the flow of innocent blood before it intervenes in a crisis that can be easily resolve without letting blood flow. Click here to read why Army beat up 500 protesting women over the land dispute

A recent paid advert in the Vanguard (December 19 2015, page 8), shows a clear move by the sponsors of that publication to instigate a full blown war in the already tensed area, the advertiser claim that “the piece or parcel of land measuring approximately 14,436.823 hectares, located in Orogho Community via Obagie Nunuame/Iwevbo in Orogho Dukedom, more particularly delineated in Survey Plan No. ISO/BD/951/87 dated 7th July by Surveyor F.I. Iyawe in the name of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, CFR, Oba of Benin” and further continued, “the land in question is covered by a Certificate of Occupancy No. EDSR 17448 dated the 5th of February, 2013 and Registered as No.34 at page 34 in volume B.277 of the land Registry in the office at Benin City, Edo State”. This said publication has a bold heading “EDO STATE GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE, with claim it emanated from the office of Edo State Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, and carries just a signature without any name to ascertain whose signature is appended on it.
The advertiser claim to be responding to a media publication among series of publications that characterized a recent invasion on the Overe Eku (Iwevbo) by PRESCO Plc, who claim the community was sold to them but maintain silence in who and how they bought a whole community without the knowledge of the inhabitants.
The question on the lips of many over this senseless publication is; what is the business of the Oba of Benin in an Urhobo community, that the Overe Eku (Iwevbo) was Surveyor in his name?
Secondly, The Edo State Government which is quoted to have issue a Certificate of Occupancy dated 5th February 2013, was in the meeting of Tuesday March 7th 2006 where Delta State Deputy Governor, Chief Benjamin Elue and Edo State Deputy Governor, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, representing their states, and the National Boundary Commission (NBC), where it was agreed that both states have no constitutional power to demarcate its inter state boundary. That the states can and will continue to work together to maintain the status quo for purposes of harmonious and peaceful co existence within the disputed boundaries pending the final demarcation of the boundaries by the National Boundary Commission.
Someone is either misleading the Edo state Government or Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa CFR, Oba of Benin, in this unholy move to lay claim to a whole community for selfish reasons.  
Chief Hon Joseph Ukueku J.P. the President General of Eku community in Vanguard March 05 2014 raised alarm over strange interest of the Enogie of Orogho, on Overe Eku (Iwevbo) community at the emergency of a petroleum company, Newcross, who were engaged in oil exploration in the area, he said, “The Enogie of Orogho, in a letter dated September 20, 2013, want to introduce Bini tradition to our people, the Enogie referred to Overe Eku (Iwevbo) as an Edo community, our people are seeing this as a clear ethnic cleansing cum modern day colonization. We reject such a move by the Binis. We call on relevant authorities to call the Enogie to order. The Enogie should be well tutored on who his subjects are, and not over steps his bound. Our traditions are not the same, so we cannot be Binis. The Eku people are the aborigine of Overe Eku (Iwevbo), our allegiance is to the Eku Traditional Council, and the Ovie of  Agbon Kingdom” he said.
The faceless advert publication claim “the attention of the Edo State Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee has been drawn by the Enogie and people of Orogho Dukedom Enogie via a petition” what is the position of the Enogie of Orogho in overe Eku (Iwevbo) community? Is he wanting to lord over an Urhobo community?
It is clear that some trouble makers from Edo state is out to create real trouble that will truncate the present peace enjoyed by both states, possibly a full blown war.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State in a news paper publication (Leadership, Sunday 25/09/2011) identified the acceptance of River Ethiope / Ossiomo River of the boundary between the two states as the most contentious portion of the boundary. How come the same Governor Adams Oshiomhole is said to have issue a Certificate of Occupancy on same disputed area?
In January 22 2004, when a Benin based transporter claimed the the Binis own Oghara, in Delta State, which is Governor James Ibori home town, the Delta Sate House of Assembly passed a resolution calling on the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to quickly intervene by asking the national Boundary Commission to urgently resolve the boundary dispute between the state (Delta) and their neighboring Edo and Ondo States before the matter will get out of hand, The Binis do enter Urhobo communities with the backing of armed security operatives mostly men of the Nigeria Police, and Nigeria Army to intimidate and harass the people in their own community.
The National Boundary Commission has over the years, since the creation of Delta and Edo State not been able to meet up with its responsibility as an agency saddle with the responsibilities of resolving boundary dispute, whereby creating rooms for incessant crisis in these areas.
The oldest man in Overe Eku Chief Uvo Eyimofe in a recent publication called on the Federal Government to come to their aid following invasion by PRESCO Plc who storm the community with heavily armed security men including men of the Nigeria Police and Army, bulldozing their farmlands with a promise to bring down their houses, graves and traditional institutions.
On Tuesday April 1995, a communiqué was issue at a special joint meeting between, both Edo State and Edo State, duly signed by Col Basse Asuquo, Military Administrator of Edo State, Group Capt. Ibrahim Kefas, Military Administrator of Delta State and Dr Aboh Zhawa, Director- General / Secretary, National Boundary Commission, both States were ask to maintain status quo for purpose of peaceful co-existence within the disputed boundaries, pending delineation by the commission.
Mean while the community in a petition to the National Boundary Commission (NBC), The Speaker House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, The Delta State Governor Dr Ifanyi Okowa and others, maintained, the boundary between Ethiope in Delta state and Edo State was spelt out in the Local Government Law, 1980. In it Instrument Establishing the Ethiope Local Government Council, with date of commencement: 23rd January, 1980. Article 3, which is the Area of Authority, paragraph 5, which quote in parts “That the Western Boundary of the area of authority of the Council shall be the line known as “Jackson Line” in the Cowan Estate and its projection northward to the OSSIOMO RIVER and southward to the BENIN RIVER….”
Further more said, Eku, Overe Eku (Iwevbo) is bounded by six communities at this end, and they are Orogho, Ologbo, Umoghumwun, Urhehue, Evboesi, Urhonigbe, which is evident in the map that was drawn years ago, that minded the oil exploration in ancient time. And the area was called Usobo camp in the Colonial time and Overe Eku from time immemorial, there is no place like Iwevbo, it is the Binis that are calling our land Iwevbo. Our fore fathers deforested the land, they own the land, they farm the land, they have their houses there, when they died they are buried there.
Ex President Olosegun Obasanjo for eight years of his government could not resolve this glaring life threatening dispute and left the the people with unfulfilled promises, same to the government of Ex President Goodluck Jonathan, will President Muhammadu Buhari, in his change mission allow this Nigerian kill themselves before profile solution to the lingering life threatening crisis?

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