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How We Intercepted Scraps Sold By Okuama — Koki, Okoloba Chairman [VIDEO]

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Sold scraps are different from looted items — Akemor, Okuama leader

I paid N1.5m for the scraps — Kelechi, buyer

The Okuama-Ewu and Okoloba communities in Ughelli South and Bomadi Local Government Areas, Delta State were enmeshed in another controversy over the apprehension of a big local engine boat loaded with scrap materials on the River Forcados, on May 23, 2024.

The people of Okoloba, whom the Okuama community had earlier accused of looting zinc, irons and other materials, rounded up the boat loaded with scrap materials from Okuama and the occupants on the waterways while heading to Okwagbe.

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Chairman of the Okoloba community, Mr Clement Koki, who confirmed the capture, told Vanguard that they acted on a tipoff and intercepted the boat to clear their name from the wrong accusation of property looting by Okuama people.

He said the buyer of the scraps confessed that the Okuama leaders sold the items to him.

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However, a leader of the Okuama-Ewu community, Victor Akemor, countered Okoloba, saying the people collectively sold the scrap materials to the buyer, insisting the scraps in question were different from the items looted by Okoloba and Akugbene people before they returned to the community.

Akemor said Okoloba was cleverer than half, as Okuama people had caught Okoloba and Akugbene youths red-handed and also caught Okoloba women, during the week, harvesting cassava in Okuama farmlands.

Why we seized the scraps-laden boat — Koki

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Koki’s words: “We received information earlier in the day that Okuama people were planning to sell property in their community. At 10a.m., today (yesterday), a big local engine boat from the Okuagbe community axis in Ughelli South, passed through our community to the direction of Okuama. We prepared and waited patiently for its return.

“At 5p.m., the same boat fully loaded returned, and we took our speedboat, went after it and intercepted it on our community waterways. We brought it and the crew to our community waterfront for questioning.

“From our inspection, we found out that there are assorted materials in the boat, including solar poles, iron bars, water tank irons, household materials, and scraps.

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“The crew stated on interrogation that the leadership of Okuama, including those the Nigerian Army declared wanted, negotiated and sold the materials to them.

“We, the leadership of the Okoloba community, decided to intercept the boat because, in the short run, they would allege that we are the people looting their property.

“Now, the whole world has seen their unabated and unrelenting propaganda against the Okoloba community from the onset has once again backfired.”

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I bought scraps from Okuama leaders — Kelechi

In a video recording of the incident sighted by Vanguard, one of the buyers of the materials, identified as Kelechi, who hails from Ebonyi State, disclosed that they bought the community materials for N1.5 million with a loading fee of N150,000.

Kelechi, in his confession, disclosed that they bought the materials at Okuama in the presence of the wanted community chairman, the president-general, the youth leader, and another person, the middleman of the business, who hails from Okuagbe but works at Oginibo in Ughelli South local government area.

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He was heard saying: “I paid N1.5 million for the community materials and N150,000 for loading the boat. They even threatened to shoot me when I offered to pay N100,000 for the loading. Had I known that they were taking us to Okuama, I would not have come.

“The middleman left our boat at Okuama after the business. I begged him to follow us back to Okuagbe but he refused. He boarded another boat and passed through the creek, opposite the community (MeinToruabubor Creek) and went back.”

Scraps sold are different from looted items — Akemor, Okuama leader

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Reacting, one Okuama leader, Victor Akemor, said: “We heard that some group of youths held a boat that came to Okuama to carry some scraps.

“The truth is that before Okuama people returned, Okoloba and Akugbene people had been looting our property remaining in the community.

“When Okuama returned, there was nothing for them to feed from, and as you can see, there is no boat for them to cross to their farmlands,
there is no boat for them to fish. They are hungry and have nothing to eat.

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“When they saw the scraps from our neighbouring communities looted, they decided to gather and sell them. That is what they have been feeding on for now because they had not received relief materials at that time.

“As you can see, the people there, from family to family, gathered these scraps to sell. They did not go to somebody’s village to steal scraps.

“Therefore, it is a lie that we are looting our materials, selling them and laying allegations against others.”

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(This article was originally published by Vanguard newspaper)

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