* Says our lives are at risk

Kingsley Abavo, Benin

Attacked community hall, Oguan.

The people of Ubiaza, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Council area of Edo State have cried out over alleged incessant invasion by their neighbours; the people of Obaretin village.

They appealed to the State Government, Police and all other relevant authorities to come to their rescue before the situation snowballs into Somali and Syria.

Since the year 2014, Obaretin people allegedly have repeatedly invaded Ubiaza, armed with guns and other dangerous weapons in a bid to claim a large portion of “our land as their own.”

“Each time they attack us, they unleash mayhem, destroy property worth millions of naira, with our lives threatened.

Now, many of the natives and residents have been sacked from their homes, the people lament.

Speaking on behalf of the village at an enlarged gathering of the natives last weekend, the Odionwere (eldest man); Pa. Ehibor Joseph Ogiamen narrated their story.

Our forebears migrated from Sokponba to establish Ubiaza as a farm settlement which has grown to become a big village today even before the people of Obaretin came to their present settlement.

The forbear of Ubiaza came through Uro village to its present abode and not Sapele Road.

Obaretin people migrated to where they are now from ‘Obe n’ evbo ebo’ village in the 1920s.

As evidence, when the map of Obaretin forest was drawn covering this area during the era of the United African Company (UAC), the villages captured in it were; Uro, Ubiaza, Ologbo and Ikpe as the only ones in existence as that time.

So, it is shocking that they say we never existed here.

But Obaretin people have continued to attack us, destroy our properties and even threatened to kill us, hence we decided to run to the law enforcement authority for intervention.

The crisis began in 2014 when Obaretin people sold our land to developers but we were able to resolve later.

Surprisingly early last year, and recently they again invaded us. Our ancestral Oguan (Traditional Hall) has been destroyed, also houses, and foundation of buildings under construction.

Many of us have been sacked from our homes, and had to flee for fear of the unknown.

Even at that, we approached them for peace meeting which we agreed to hold on the 18 November, last year. But on the 15 November, they attacked us again at mid night with more aggression.

All efforts to make them see reason to broker peace have failed, hence we have called in the police and they are now shouting. We just now have no option.

However, we remain peace loving, always ready to keep cordial relationship with our neighbors, and put the ugly past behind us.

Also speaking, Pa. Osaheni Ogiemwense Ogiamen, and Godwin Aimiuwu lend credence to the narrative of the Odionwere.

From the Ologbo Police station through the AIG, Zone 5, to Police Headquarters in Abuja, all the evidence are there that they are the ones that have been terrorizing us.

But we still welcome settlement to forge ahead. We are peace loving people; if they sue for peace, we will oblige them.

Meanwhile, findings reveal Obaretin people have instituted a law suit against Ubiaza people, the Police authority, Inspector-general of Police, and the Police Service Commission demanding the sum of N500m as damages for unlawful arrest and detention.

Interestingly however, the people of Ubiaza and Obaretin are blood relatives as they have over the years past, inter married, and had been coexisting peacefully until recently.

In reaction, the Police authority in Edo through the spokesman at the Area Command, Zone 5, and Police Headquarters in Benin said the matter has not been brought to its knowledge.