Establish army barracks in Okuama to tackle killings – community leader tells FG

Nedu Okorie 2024-05-02 0

The Okoloba Federated Community in Delta has called on the Federal Government to establish an army barracks in neighbouring Okuama Town as a strategy to tackle communal clashes and killings in the area.

The Chairman of Okoloba Federated Community, Mr Clement Koki, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

NAN reports that, on March 14, at least 17 military personnel were killed in Okuama following a communal clash in the area.

The personnel attached to the 181 Amphibious Battalion were responding to a distress call when they were ambushed and killed.

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Okuama, an Urhobo community in between two Ijaw communities—Akugbena and Okoloba—is in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta.

Koki, who condemned the killing of the officers and soldiers, said that establishing an army barracks at Okuama would promote peace in the area.

“We don’t want bloodbaths again. We have lost enough people, including the finest military officers who were killed.

“Our women have been raped, and our people are regularly kidnapped. When people go to the farm, they don’t return.

“With barracks, everyone will maintain order because everyone fears soldiers.

“Government must save our souls. That is the only thing that can give us peace,” he said.

Koki sympathized with neighbouring communities for temporary inconveniences on them occasioned by security measures put in place by the military to forestall further crises.

He claimed that Okoloba Community had proprietary ownership of fishing lakes (Afou Donou, Afou Bolu, Oge Donou, Agbakoropei Donou, Okirimeli Donou, and Benmo Donou), farmlands, economic trees, and territorial waters within its ancestral boundaries.

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“The proprietary ownership and control have been peacefully established and maintained by Okoloba for ages through collection of annual rents/royalties from strangers/settlers from various places who came to farm on those lands and/or fish in those lakes in line with customary practices.

“Okoloba people are peace-loving, law-abiding, hospitable, benevolent, and sociable.

“Our primary occupation is fishing and farming.

He said that royal fathers, the military, and Delta governments had been intervening in crises in the communities through peace parleys,  but noted that peace had not been achieved.

He regretted that one Mr Zipamone Pigha from Okoloba was, on March 9, kidnapped and murdered and his lifeless body thrown into River Forcados.

He added that one Mr Anthony Aboh, also from Okoloba, was kidnapped and murdered on March 11.

He said that the establishment of an army barracks would end or reduce conflicts and killings in the area. (NAN)