Friday, March 11, 2016

Why Nigerian Army Beat up 500 Protesting Women in Delta, Octogenarian yet to be Found.

I got this mail last night from Felix Okotie  which detailed what conspired between soldiers and protesting women in Ovre Eku, Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State last week Wednesday and the account that led to it. This is in complete contrast to what was said by the Nigerian Army which I published yesterday. Click here. Read the account of the injustice meted out on the women after the cut.
On Wednesday 2nd March 2016, at about 10:35am, over five hundred (500) women, embarked on a peaceful protest at Ovre Eku, Eku community in Ethiope East Local Government of Delta State to express their displeasure over alleged sale of their community to PRESCO PLC, and recent military occupation and operations that has taking over major part of their farm land, whereby most of them are no more allowed to access their farms which is their only source of income.
The women wearing black clothing, carrying placard with bold inscriptions, “PRESCO WE DID NOT SALE LAND TO YOU” PRESCO WE HAVE NO OTHER COMMUNITY TO GO, LEAVE OUR LAND” PRESCO OUR LAND IS NOT FOR SALE” “PRESCO YOU HAVE BROUGHT HUNGER TO OUR LAND”, dance in style while singing solidarity songs, carrying a coffin shape box in front to show the pains and sorrow the PRESCO and it Soldiers has brought to their community.
On getting to the first military barricade, which is about 200meter away from a potion of the community PRESCO and it Soldiers allocated to themselves as official area, the Soldiers who was dancing to the songs of the women, as they come close ask them to stop, and they stop, but insisted they will want to speak to PRESCO, “Na PRESCO we want” it was at this point Lt E. D Oworobo walked quickly from the inside to the spot, believing he was coming to address the protesting women they where relax, just for the senior Army officer to cock his gun, point the gun at the women and ordered the Soldiers to attack them.
The women took to their heels but that could not help them, as a result of old age they could not run, the Soldiers chased the fleeing women into adjoining bushes at the area, the wild soldiers caught up with them began to trample upon them with their boots, as well as flogged them with canes improvised from tree branches, beating them with the boot of their guns.
At about 11am same day, The Soldiers further invaded parts of Ovre-Eku community and destroyed no fewer than nine motorcycles and 13 bicycles belonging to residents of the community who had fled following the arrival of more Soldiers in a white Hilux van belonging to PRESCO PLC driven by a staff of PRESCO.
Scores of women injured by the Soldiers were taken to the Eku Baptist Government Hospital, while others were carried away by their children and relatives to private hospitals and native medicine houses.
Some youths who went looking for their mothers and relations, and some protest women including 87years Mama Alice Omaedefe are still missing due to the military attack.
The matter was reported to the Eku police station while the SSS has since commence investigations, the President General of Eku put a call to the Delta State Deputy Chief of Staff who reported the matter to the Deputy Governor of Delta State.
Ogurimerime Ukori the first the Ovie of Agbon, next day summon a meeting of Chiefs from Eku where he condemned the attack on the defenseless women by the Lt E.D. Oworobo led Soldiers, and petitioned the military hierarchy for immediate action.  
Some time in August 2015, The people of Overe Eku woke up one morning to see earth moving equipment belonging to PRESCO Plc, and its staffs bulldozing their farmlands, cash crops were brought down and destroyed without any regard owners feelings, when they confronted them (PRESCO Staffs) they said Ovre Eku has been sold to them, but refused to show any evident or mention persons involve in the said sales.
The PRESCO staffs came to the community with the backing of heavily armed Mobile Policemen; believe to be from SPU Base 5, Benin City.
The people, both men and women, were engaged on daily protest, calling for a stop to this daylight evil on their farm land by PRESCO Plc.
They were told by some PRESCO staffs that they will bulldoze their houses, their father’s graves, shrines, and other traditional institutions, that they are just starting with their farmland.
Some owners of farmland destroyed at Ovre Eku drag a staff of PRESCO PLC before the police at Eku, and one Mr Uche Uche who said he is PRESCO Site manager operating in the area, stormed the police station in two Hilux Vans loaded with heavily-armed men of the Nigeria Police, and the District Officer of the Eku Police station DSP Efejedia Andrew is an extract cautioned parties against impending clash, The Police Extract reads, “From the report the D/O has received so far from across the River Ethiope it thus appear to him that the PRESCO PLC is either forcing itself on the community or someone else has mortgage the village for the PRESCO Plc.
It is therefore in the opinion that an impending clash is likely to take place in that community. The D/O therefore warned all parties involved in this matter to remain at status-quo, until a clear agreement is reached by all parties either by the pronouncement by the court or a simple mutual agreement by the parties”.
8th December 2015, S.O.S. was sent to the Hon Evans Iwurhie, representing Ethiope East constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Lovette Idisi, representing Ethiope Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, The Governor of Delta State, and The Director General National Boundary Commission (NBC), calling on them to as a matter of urgency put a stop to this illegal sale of their community cum invasion, as well reach out to the National Boundary Commission to bring the disputes in their area to an end.
On 8th December 2015, the Managing Director PRESCO PLC led other persons including a senior Army officer with three truck load of Soldiers to the Traditional Council Hall to meet with the Okarhoro in Council, the meeting ended in deadlock, and they (PRESCO) promise a repeat the visit, but instead they left behind the Soldiers in Ovre Eku community, using the Soldiers to intimidate members of the community. A petition was sent to The Brigade Commander 4th Brigade Command Nigeria Army, days later the soldiers disappeared.
On the 19th December 2015 read in dismay a 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, via the Enogie and People of Orogho Dukedom in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, 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 the 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.
13th January 2016 the people of Eku in letter signed by the President General of Eku community Chief Hon Joseph Ukueku JP, to the Survey General Delta State requested the geographical survey status of Ovre Eku, and Eku community at large, thereby drawing the attention of the Survey General to this strange publication, the Survey General maintained the area is still under contention, but referred the matter to the Delta State Boundary Committee.
30th January 2016 person who went to farm said herdsmen told them that a security personal attached to PRESCO who is a northerner told them PRESCO PLC has concluded plans to use military men of the Nigeria Police to carry out total invasion of Ovre Eku, this information was posted on facebook pages, leading to debate by many.
Two weeks later those who went to farm ran back that PRESCO Soldiers has arrived and they are harassing farmers going to their farms, when the community sent some person to know their mission, the soldiers refused them to see their commander, when they themselves as emissaries from the community, and that they are on a peace mission, one of the soldier ordered the bike-boy that brought them to carry his bike on the head, but for the intervention of another, who said they give them today as day of grace, ask them to tell their people that a section of the community is now a no go area.
The Eku community again petitioned the Commander 4th Brigade command Nigeria Army Benin, and the Chief Of Army Staff, Major-General Tukur Buratai.
Two days after the harassment of the community emissaries, Tony Uwajeh who said he is the Head of Administration PRESCO PLC led some persons including Lt E.D. Oworobo with three truck of Soldiers to Ovre Eku, after introduction the spokes person for Ovre Eku community asked if this was the same PRESCO that invaded their community, and told them, they the Ovre Eku people will not want to discuss any issue with them pending boundary delineation in the line between Edo and Delta State. PRESCO was asked to go with their drinks as nobody in the community will want to drink it.
It was at this point Lt E D Oworobo led Soldiers stopped the people of Ovre Eku from coming near more areas in the community including their farm land, maybe to stave them to death, or frustrate them from their homes and their community.
Where Ovre Eku belong
The Eku people are the aborigine of Overe Eku (Iwevbo), their allegiance is to the Eku Traditional Council, and the Ovie of Agbon Kingdom.
There is no Benin person in Ovre Eku, they are Urhobos with their root from Eku in Ethiope East, Their culture, Tradition, and Mores, are of the Urhobo extraction and not anyway liken to any other tribe to compromise a mix blood.
Our Boundary
Since the creation of Delta State and Edo State there has not been boundary delineation in the Ethiope, Orhionwon Area.
Today, Overe Eku, which the Binis calls Iwevbo, is been claimed to be part of Orhionmwon Local Government in Edo State, while the boundary between Edo and Ethiope was well 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 “the Jackson Line” in the Cowan Estate and its projection northward to the OSSIOMO RIVER and southward to the BENIN RIVER….” Overe Eku can not be Orhionmwon Local Goveenment of Edo State? We are Deltans.
It is the oil in Ovre Eku land that is attracting the Binis and the Edo state government who are bent on any trick available including the use of force which has led to the engagement of Lt E.D. Oworobo led Soldiers. 
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

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