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Okuama Massacre: ‘Our Untold Story’ – Okoloba Federated Community




The Okoloba Federated Community has narrated what they termed their own side of the story in the reported killing of 17 soldiers in Okuama, blaming their ‘Urhobo settlers’ for the unfortunate incidents that encased in the area.

In a statement entitled, ‘Okuama: The Okoloba story’ signed by chairman of the community, Mr. Clement Koki, the people said that there have been “various concocted stories, deliberate falsehoods, propaganda, misgivings as well as carefully orchestrated campaigns of calumny by some misguided persons and fifth columnists within the media” hence they decided to set the “record straight”.

“We have also studied the various narratives of the string of events that heralded the unwarranted killing of the 17 army officers and soldiers in Okuama in Ughelli South LGA, Delta State”, they said.

Giving a chronological details of their history, they said Okoloba unarguably is the eldest son of Mein: the progenitor of all the Mein Ijaws, occupying the entire coastline of River Forcados, having settled there for centuries.


“Okoloba Federated Community maintains direct ancestral boundaries with Akugbene in Bomadi LGA, on the Southern flank: Ogodobiri in Bomadi LGA on the Northern flank: Oviri-Olomu in Ughelli-South LGA, Egodor and Agbodobiri communities in Burutu LGA respectively, on the Eastern flank, and of course, Ekamtagbene in Bomadi LGA and Oyangbene in Burutu LGA respectively on the Western flank.

They maintained that Okoloba Federated Community is the undisputable proprietary owner of all that fishing Lakes (Afou Donou, Agu Bolou (Meinturubobor Donou), Oge Donou, Agbakoropei Donou, Okirimeli Donou, Benmo Donou, etc)

“That Okoloba people are peace-loving, law-abiding, hospitable, benevolent and sociable, whose primary occupation is fishing and farming, and we have been co-existing with all our Mein Ijaw brothers peacefully from time immemorial.


They contended that the 1945 court judgment prove that Okolobas were the aboriginal owner of the land and only neighbours to Akugbene, saying that the land-grabbing disposition by their Urhobo neighbour started by encroaching on the land of their benefactors (Akugbene) straying beyond the portions given to them and that set them on a war path with the Akugbene who accommodated them when they needed shelter.

“That the crux of the intermittent conflicts between Okoloba and Okuama had been due to the resistance by Okoloba people towards the crafty and aggressive land-grabbing and territorial expansionist moves of the Okuama people, which came to the fore no sooner than they set foot on the land given to them by Akugbene people specifically for fishing and farming”.

They disclosed that troubled started between Okuama and Okoloba when in 2014, Okoloba Community set out to build a befitting permanent site for their secondary school.


They alleged that they (Okuama) had mobilized youths and thugs to disrupt the site-clearing process and a near-bloodbath situation erupted, wherein HRM S P Luke, Pere Kalanama Xlll, Pere of Akugbene – Mein Kingdom, interfaced with chiefs from Ewu kingdom to avert outright bloodbath and total breakdown of law and order”.

They said that several reports were made to the Police, Army (JTF), DSS, NSCDC in Bomadi, and the local and state governments about the unbearable situation.

“That following from the ugly incident, the state government intervened via the Office of the Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution to the Executive Governor, Delta State in a Peace meeting, wherein both parties were charged to maintain peace, promising that government was going to resolve the dispute.


They alleged that there was a time they were all invited by JTF to Bomadi for a meeting when Okuama people allegedly “continued with their aggression unabated”.

They gave a detailed timeline of how their people suffered one form of violence, rape, maiming and killing over the feud particularly the 2023 cases of kidnap and raping of a young pregnant Okoloba woman, Mrs Ogheghe Clement Tondase who was on her way for routine ante-natal exercise in Akugbene and was rescued by a passerby and taken to Okoloba.

They also cliamed that on 18th December, 2023, eight defenseless Okoloba persons among whom were heavily pregnant women and children were captured and subjected to untold torture.


Again, on 8th January, 2024, one Mr. Owotorufa Ovie, an Okoloba indigene who was traveling peacefully to Akugbene was captured and was subjected to severe torture that almost sent him to his early grave.

Another scenario, according to them was on 27th January, 2024 where Okoloba Federated Community.was attacked with mercenaries with arms and ammunitions, which attack was swiftly foiled by Okoloba and the attention of the security agencies and the state government promptly drawn to it.

They recounted the kidnap and murder of Mr. Zipamone Pigha on 9th March, 2024 and how his lifeless body was thrown into the River Forcados as well as the 11th March, 2024 kidnap and murder of one Anthony Aboh.


They also mentioned that the 13th June 2024 ambush and shooting of defenceless Okoloba fishermen and women at Meinturuabobor River.

The people said that all the unfortunate incidents prompted the state government, miffed by the January 27, 2024 sad event, to summoned Okuama and Okoloba to Government House, Asaba for a Peace Parley to stem the tide of the rising hostilities and de-escalate tension.

“At the Peace Parley, both parties were made to sign a Peace Accord, promising to maintain peace in their various domains. It may interest the public to note that right there on the floor of the Peace Parley, a topmost leader in Ewu Kingdom and high profile academic (name withheld) said that the coming of Okuama to the Peace Parley was just a mere formality, and that they had a carefully designed plan they intend to hatch at all cost, no matter what happens and that it was the collective and irrevocable position of his Okuama people.


“It was no sooner than we left the venue of the Peace Parley that Okoloba people were ambushed and attacked.

“One of such episode was the ambushing of teachers who were going for interview in Bomadi with an intention to slaughtering them all, and then ambushing our people in Agu Bolou (Mienturubobor fishing lake) and shooting at them at very close range unprovoked but which event fortunately didn’t record any casualty.

“Permit us to add here also that the ambushing and cold-blooded murders of Messrs Zipamone Pigha on March 9, 2024 and Anthony Aboh on March 11, 2024 were direct fulfilments of the threats issued by the said top rank Ewu leader and high profile academic on the floor of the Peace Parley”.


They hinted that prior to the March 14, 2024 killing of 17 army personnel in Okuama Community, they also kidnapped Messrs Zipamone Pigha and Anthony Aboh (both Okoloba indigenes) on March 9 and 11, 2024 respectively

“It was the reports and the SOS calls made by the family members to the authorities (Police, Army (JTF), DSS, NSCDC etc. that prompted the Army (JTF) to respond and embark on the peace and rescue mission on that ill-fated day to Okuama Community in Ughelli South LGA, Delta State, to effect the release of the kidnap victims, and that culminated in the killing of the 17 officers and soldiers in Okuama Community as widely reported.

“That singular act was no doubt the height of barbarism and recklessness of the violent and murderous Okuama people because the soldiers were on a peace and rescue mission, despite the fruitless attempt by Okuama people embarking on a wild goose chase of concocting stories and constantly changing narratives to cover up their dastardly act and tracks: which has rather heightened their culpability more in the heinous crime.


“An act we condemn in the strongest terms and as a people, our hearts still bleed and quake for the souls of the gallant officers and soldiers who lost their lives in the most unthinkable and barbaric manner in the line of duty to their fatherland! We pray God grants their souls eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Amen.

“As the popular African adage goes: the witch cries in the night and the child dies in the morning, who do you ask that killed the child? They promised through their top rank academic and leader of carrying out a carefully orchestrated wicked plan they had perfected in their mind, no matter what happens and whose ox is gored, and followed their threat through with a string of unprovoked attacks, multiple kidnaps in quick succession with their victims’ lifeless bodies thrown into River Forcados, and the killing of the 17 fine army officers and soldiers, and eventual decapitation of their bodies (as widely reported) was a strong testament to their unquenchable taste for blood”.

“We wish to reiterate that Okoloba Federated Community only have and maintains ancestral boundary directly with Akugbene people. .So they do not have any basis claiming any land in the first instance, because they never owned one, and that they should vacate all that land which they have craftily and aggressively grabbed, as we shall not allow even a foot of our God-given land to be occupied by them for whatsoever reasons,


“And we will do everything legitimately possible, acting within the ambit of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to achieve just that, without taking laws into our hands.

“We are also very willing and ready to support the security agencies, the state and Federal governments to effectively resolve the long-standing impasse but we add that the root cause of the dispute must be explored exhaustively because that is the only sure bet to a lasting peace.

“We advise strongly that any hurried and haphazard approach to the dispute will be like pouring water on top of rock, which will not stand the test of time, whilst we strongly wish and pray for peace and prosperity to reign in Delta State and of course Nigeria at large”, the statement added.

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