By Abavo Kingsley

 

Friday Egausa, one of the victims

At two neighbouring villages of Igueogboe, and Obagie – Uwafiokun, Ovia North – East local government council area of Edo State, it is ‘Sorrow, Tears, and Blood’ now ‘their original trade mark’ over boundary dispute.

The cordial relationship that hitherto bonded them together has since been thrown to the dogs with incessant attacks at each other, accusations and counter accusations often resulting in police arrests.

Also, scores of victims carrying various degrees of injuries on both sides is left as evidence of the pervading seemingly unending acrimony that continued to tear the people apart.

Though a good number of victims has been hospitalized since the raging crisis began, no loss of life has been recorded, it was said.

The dispute began when the Benin Monarch approved the autonomy of Igueogboe village some years ago without a demarcating boundary established by the Oba’s Palace.

According to the people of Obagie led by their Odionwere, Pa. Palmer Otasowie, Igueogboe’s onslaughts on them have constantly been led by Joseph Aghedo JP, allegedly a self acclaimed Odionwere of the village.

 

Diamond Osayande, another victim of the violence

The latest, they said occurred on Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 leaving two members of Obagie village critically wounded after alleged gun shots attack.

The alleged victims; Festus Osadolor, Chris Ugiagbe, Osaro Osadolor and developers were attacked in the bush by armed men said to be in army uniform.

The armed men are suspected to have been hired by Odionwere Aghedo and his people, they said.

Prince John Uwafiokun Eweka laments; “He has been intimidating us. He has arrested us severally. The recent one, some developers in company of some members of this village went into the bush to lay foundation. Only for Oduagbon Aghedo and his boys to come with soldiers in uniform, they were armed and fired our boys.”

 

Festus Osadolor, a third victim carrying bullets wounds

Both villages had dragged themselves to different authorities where they were told to maintain status quo until the boundary is defined by the Monarch or the State Boundary Commission, they said.

But Obagie people argued that they truly have no boundary with Igueogboe village who they said were part of them until recently.

“Until the boundary is defined, nobody can actually lay claim to ownership of any land or boundary.

“Obagie – Uwafiokun shares common boundary with Ogheghe, Igueadolor, Igueoshodin, Arah, Omi and Igueoshodin II and not Igueogboe village.”

However in search of peace, they had written a letter dated; 11 October, 2017 requesting the Oba Palace to come map out the boundary between them.

“Your Majesty, in line with your pronouncements, we humbly request that the boundary between our village and Igueogboe be marked out now to avoid future contest since from time immemorial, both villages were regarded as one” a paragraph of the letter reads.

In a reaction, the Odionwere of Igueogboe village,  Joseph Aghedo JP denied all the allegations.

He said that on day of the alleged attack, he was not even at home but was only briefed when he returned in response to a distress call by his people.

It was the people of Obagie – Uwafiokun that attacked his boys who sustained injuries of various degrees.

Friday Eguasa sustained gun injury, while Diamond Osayande was wounded with a battle axe.

“Daily, they (Obagie – Uwafiokun people) are on the land working while armed with guns and other dangerous weapons in readiness to attack anyone that would dare them including developers,” the Odionwere of Igueogboe village alleged.

According to him, the contentious land is about 500fts away from his compound.

Both villages now appeal to the Benin Monarch, HRM Oba Ewuare II, Edo State government, and all relevant authorities to quickly intervene to save the volatile situation from deteriorating further.