…Frowns at Delta Govt’s reluctance in settling the dispute
The President General of Ozoro Progress Union (OPU) Chief Miller Akpoili, has dismissed the allegations made against him by the President General of Oleh community, Comrade Believe Alakri that, “he is instigating crisis between Ozoro and Oleh communities over a lingering boundary land dispute between the communities.”
BIGPEN (https://bigpenngr.com) reports that the both communities had been enmeshed in conflict over a percel of land situated between the boundary of the two Isoko Communities.
Addressing newsmen in his office, Chief Miller described the allegation and other claims by the PG of Oleh community as spurious, unfounded and lacking merit.
Akpoili called on the Delta State government to expedite action in finding a lasting solution to the lingering land dispute between the two Isoko Communities, describing as worrisome, the recurring violent disposition of the people of Oleh community since a White Paper on the disputed land was released by the state government.
Chief Akpoili also described as untrue, the claims by the PG of Oleh community that the White Paper released by the Delta State Government ceded to Ozoro community the portions of land that the Oleh land owning families had obtained judgement from court of law.
He further clarified that the said portion of land which the PG of Oleh community claimed to have obtained judgement from Court of law belongs to Ozoro community and it has never been in contention over the decades, adding that the White Paper did not identify nor record same land as being in contention with Oleh community.
He charged the Oleh PG, Comrade Believe Alakri not to twist known facts in an attempt to misguide and misinform the public and incite further violence between the two communities.
Chief Akpoili said, “The people of Ozoro community are peace loving and very accommodating. We have common ties with Oleh people and will never subscribe to anything that will inflame conflict with them, not at all.”
He lauded the people of Ozoro community for their peaceful dispositions towards the simmering land dispute, saying, “We have maintained peaceful coexistence with our neighbours over the years. We have boundaries with Ellu, Ofagbe, Irri, Olomoro, Owhelogbo, Azairo, and Owhe. We have never had dispute with these numerous communities. Even when we had issues, we resolved them peacefully. We resolutely believe in harbouring our neighbours, doing good to them but not to hurt or discriminate against them.”
He continued, “For reason of being a peaceful community, we will not stop doing good and tolerating the excesses of our neighbours.”
Chief Akpoili called on the people of Ozoro community to remain calm while the government of Delta State exhausts every effort to settle the lingering land dispute peacefully.
Reacting to the white paper on the disputed land, Chief Akpoili said, “Alakri and l were in agreement to get the white paper from the government and subsequent demarcation of the disputed land to ensure the land owning families of Ozoro and Oleh are in peace.”
He recalled, “while acting in unison, Chief Alakri and l, embarked on a peaceful protest to compel the government to release the white paper in the hope that it will finally settle the land dispute.”
He however, blamed Chief Alakri for an act of betrayal after the white paper had been released by the Delta State government, saying, “l never knew that Chief Alakri would be looking for something else after he had received the white paper.”
“On my part, when l received the white paper, l immediately summoned the land-owning families and told them that whatever decision the government had taken on the disputed land should be adhered to and that advice has been obeyed and nobody from Ozoro has encroached into the land or violated the position of the white paper and the demarcation of the disputed land.”
“In a nutshell, that document (White Paper) is the only and sacred authority that guides our actions as regards the disputed land.”
“Until the government makes available any other document on the disputed land, we shall obey the recommendations of the white paper,” he stated.
Speaking further, he said; “The government had set up a committee on the disputed land, and finally released a White Paper to chart the path of peace, but now that that effort is being challenged by the people of Oleh, I sternly call on the Delta State government to take a final decision on the matter. Until they do that urgently I will hold the government responsible for any breakdown of law and order arising from the land dispute.”
Chief Akpoili recalled that when access road was being created on the disputed boundary area in line with the white paper, the people of Oleh, wielding arms, stormed the site and caused a pandemonium, and drove everybody away, seized the ‘Okadas’ at the site and kegs of diesel and took them away, but later released the items.
“It was based on that unfortunate development l appealed to the state government through a press conference that since it had promised to create a permanent road to separate the two communities (Ozoro and Oleh), it should expedite action to achieve it and resolve the lingering land dispute.”
He said, “Delta State government should as a matter of urgency, decide on this matter and create the access road so that the communities will know their boundaries.”
The Ozoro PG expressed worry about a looming danger if the government stayed action on the recommendations made by the White Paper.