By Kingsley Abavo, Benin

Third from (L), Odionwere Joseph Ehibor Igbineweka Ogiamien leading his people in an appeal to EDSG, Oba Ewuare II, the Police, and all relevant authorities for intervention in the land crisis bedeviling his village and Obaretin since year 2015

The people of ‘Ubiaza Evbogiamien village in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, have debunked allegations of incessant attack, and harassment by their neighbors: the people of ‘Obaretin Village’.

The people of Obaretin village recently had in various news platform: print, broadcast, and online alleged that the people of ‘Ubiaza-Evbogiamien’ have continued incessant attack, and harassed them with security operatives in a bid to forcefully claim their land.

This they do in collaboration with the sacked Okaighele of Obaretin Village, Osaretin Osabuohien Uhumwagho.

They added though, the Ogiamien family had sojourned in their midst from time immemorial as farmers, “no village in Benin Kingdom is known and addressed as Ubiaza-Evbogiamien, the land they occupy belong to us.”

In a swift response, ‘Ubiaza-Evbogiamien’ people led by the Odionwere, Pa. Joseph Ehibor Igbineweka Ogiamien debunked all the allegations and claims.

According to him, “the Obaretin people have been the ones attacking us unceasingly; they destroy our property including the sacred ancestral ‘Oguan-edion’ and threaten to kill us.

“Evidence of their attack and destruction is everywhere and visible in our village.

“To the allegation of harassment and arrest of their people, from investigation, it is their former Okaighele: Osaretin Osabuohien Uhumwagho who did.

“Findings revealed that Obaretin elders allegedly sponsored their armed youths to go shoot him to death, but he managed to escape. So he reported to the police who now effected arrest of suspected masterminds.

“We never attacked them, we can never attack them, and we have no power to attack them. As they attacked us, we reported to the Police; the appropriate authority.”

On why the planned peace move has not succeeded, the Odionwere said: “I have come to discover that they don’t want peace, because they want to reap where they have not sowed, they want to claim ownership of the land that is not theirs.”

He appealed to the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II, Edo State Government, and relevant authorities to quickly intervene, particularly the Police authority to investigate activities of Obaretin people.

“We are peace loving people, we need peace because in the place of strife and rancour, there will be no meaningful development,” the Odionwere who is a retired soldier appealed.

“I am a disciplined soldier, so also many amongst us, we cannot take the law into our hands.  We don’t have guns, but we trust in the power of Government, and the power of the Oba of Benin, they will come to our rescue.”

Also speaking, the secretary, Godwin Aimiuwu corroborated the story of the Odionwere.

“If you are coming from Benin-City, the demarcation is very clear. Obaretin village is on the right side of the express way in Oredo Local Government Area, while Ubiaza-Evbogiamien is on the left side in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area.

“They say there is no Ubiaza-Evbogiamien village in Benin, whereas, this is a place that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

“Therefore, I want to passionately appeal to the Edo State Government, and the Oba of Benin Kingdom, Oba Ewuare II to intervene in this matter so that we can have a sustained peace here.”

In the crisis which was said to have begun since 2015, many lives and property worth millions of naira have been lost, it was said.