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Group Accuses Gov Oborevwori Of Favoritism, Bias In Okuama-Okoloba Crisis Resettlement Plans, Warns Against Ignoring Remote Cause



The group, ‘Concerned Ijaw Citizens’, have raised the alarm over purported plans by Delta State Government to rebuild and resettle Okuama people after the March 14, 2024, incident, saying that such move would spill doom for the area if the remote cause of the dispute between Okuama-Okoloba, is ignored.

The group, in an open latter to Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, on Tuesday, said that the crisis between the two warring communities is escalating, with tensions rising by the day.

This is coming barely two months after the killing of 17 Nigerian Army officers in Okuama community, Ughelli South local government area of the state.

The letter signed by coordinator of the group, Mr. Seigha Manager, maintained that the situation remains volatile, with Okoloba community people expressing deep concerns about the alleged renewed hostility by Okuama people who recently took laws into their hands.


According to the letter, “It is also barely a month and three weeks since the soldiers left Okuama. ln our interface with Okoloba people to unearth their concerns, their community stated profusely that there has been an inexplicable array of unpalatable events rocking the trio of Okuama, Okoloba and Akugbene communities”, the group hinted.

They alleged that investigation revealed that Okoloba people are living in fear of “possible attacks by Okuama”, who have regrouped in larger numbers, and reportedly “threatening mayhem”.

They accused the Delta State Governor of being bias in the handling of the crisis, saying that the state government’s decision to visit and invite only Okuama leadership for talks has raised questions about fairness and equity.


Okoloba people, according to the group, are demanding equal attention and protection from the government, and urging the state government to address the root cause of the crisis, which they claim is “the trespassing of Okuama people on their land”.

The group, however, called on the state government to take urgent steps to address the situation, including inviting Okoloba people for talks, addressing their challenges and pains, and getting specific terms of commitment from them to maintain peace.

The letter reads; “As concerned Ijaw citizens who are critical stakeholders in the overall well-being and peaceful co-existence of Ijaws wherever they may be dwelling and in tandem with our unflinching desire to work with government in resolving the lingering crisis, we engaged the Okoloba people and their leadership with an intent to bringing their complaints to the knowledge of government (state and federal) and of course other non-state actors so as to address them properly–the essence being to dig into the root-cause of the crisis and permanently nip same in the bud.


“That though the soldiers were killed in Okuama community and that put Okuama on the radar of the soldiers, it is two communities that are involved in the crisis and as such for a lasting solution to be provided, the state government ought to visit the two communities and/or at least invite the two communities and their leadership to sit down and address the burning issues that led to the impasse. But that was not done. Rather, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Delta state visited Okuama only, and invited Its leadership to Government House and promised rebuilding Okuama and resettling them. The burning questions being asked by Okoloba people and they said are contributing to the brewing tension are:

“As a father to all persons and ethnic nationalities in Delta state, is it fair, right, just and equitable for the governor to visit and/or talk with only one party (Okuama) to the exclusion of the other (Okoloba), which is a major party to the dispute in question?

“Is it because Okoloba is an ijaw village, and not Urhobo, hence the governor feels comfortable to ignore Okoloba people?


They contended that even if the government succeeds in suppressing Okoloba now to achieve the plan of resetting Okuama people in the contentious land using the instrumentality of government power, has the state government really solved the problem on ground that has traversed several decades and several governments?

“Would the government not be postponing doomsday? What collective good/purpose will that defective conflict resolution strategy serve? With what happened, would it not be advisable the state government is more thorough in charting any course as far as resolving the Okuama/Okoloba quagmire?, the further queried.

“While acknowledging your untiring efforts at returning peace to Okuama and of course the entire River Forcados area and indeed Delta state as a whole, we are inclined to view the issues and concerns raised by Okoloba people as germane, and state government’s inactions as chronicled by Okoloba people herein as unacceptable, and the Okuama resettlement plan as noble but ill-timed, particularly when the indices are not right, on the following premises:


“Without first unearthing the root-cause of the Okuama/Okoloba crisis and addressing them exhaustively, pursuing a resettlement agenda hurriedly; though a well thought-out and noble idea; will be like embarking on a wild goose chase that will not end well for both the state government and the duo of Okuama and Okoloba respectively in the very long run.

The group urged the State government to; “Invite Okoloba people and their leaders, give them listening ears and let them bare their hearts on their challenges, pains and fears. Talking to just one party in a crisis situation and ignoring the other could give a sense of apathy instead of empathy and that could be counter-productive in the quest for lasting peace for Okuama/Okoloba crisis

“Is the government of the day in Delta State trying to play a script in favour of one party to the detriment of the other?


“These are the burning issues, questions asked and the pains of Okoloba people, as we speak; demanding urgent attention in order to avert a situation where government efforts in putting millions of tax payers’ monies in pursuing a resettlement agenda that will not solve the problem and/or stand the test of time. And most importantly to avoid a replay of the events that heralded the ugly March 14, 2024 débâcle”.

The group has also urged the government to address the plight of Diebiri people, who were displaced from their ancestral home 29 years ago and are still seeking resettlement.

“The State Government should first lay a clear and solid pathway to entrenching peace in Delta State by being fair to all, regardless of where and who is involved. And that brings us unavoidably to the DIEBIRI QUESTION.


“Your Excellency, Diebiri people (an Ijaw community in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State) have cried out that they were sacked 29 years ago by Aladja (an Urhobo community in Udu LGA of Delta State) in a crisis(Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh crisis), they never had an input and were not part of, and have been so displaced from their ancestral home since then, and all appeals to successive governments to assuage their plight by resettling them failed till date.

“Why has His Excellency not even offered any form of statement or explanation as to the Diebiri question till date: a plight they have suffered for almost three decades; but he is in a such a hurry to resettle Okuama whose displacement occurred barely three months ago and moreso, without addressing the root cause of the Okuama/Okoloba imbroglio?, the statement reads.

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