More condemnable have continue to trail the reported gruesome killings of nine indigenes of oil producing community of Oleh by yet-to-be identified assailants on Friday.
BIGPEN reports the killings happened on the backdrop of land dispute between Oleh and Ozoro, both oil producing communities in the state.
This comes as the member representing Isoko South Constituency 1 in the Delta state house of Assembly, Hon Kenneth Edafe Ogba, on Saturday, appealed for calm from his constituent in Oleh kingdom.
Ogba who commiserated with the Odiologbo of Oleh Kingdom and the bereaved who loss nine family members, however called on the law enforcement agencies to dig deep to unravel the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
BIGPEN reports that the nine persons, all indigenes of Oleh community, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State were gruesomely murdered on Friday in a farm land located along Oleh-Ozoro road.
It is however unascertained if the killings has anything to do with the festering struggle over the parcel of land.
But reacting to the unholy act in a statement he personally signed, the lawmaker, who visited all the affected bereaved families in Oleh, urged the two communities to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.
While describing the act as barbaric and satanic, he appealed to the bereaved families and the Oleh community not to take laws into their hands by way of a reprisal attack.
The lawmaker, admonished all and sundry to desist from spreading rumours that could escalate the already tensed situation in the community.
He said that the government of Delta State was doing everything humanly possible to get to the root of the issues that may have triggered such act against humanity.
“I was shocked when I received the sad news of the gruesome murder of some of my Oleh people. While I commiserate with the deceased families and Oleh community, I trust in the capacity of the security agencies to investigate and fish out those miserable elements behind this barbaric act.
“As a people we must learn to leave in peace and follow laid down procedures in settling disputes. I am sad that as a nation, we cannot leave in peace and harmony. I am using this opportunity to call on Oleh community to please remain calm and allow peace to reign while security agencies investigate the gruesome murder.”, Ogba stated.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Isoko Advancement Network (IAN), Chief Paul John Odhomor, commiserated with the families and good people of Oleh over the unfortunate incident that led to the “unacceptable and untimely death of their sons and daughters over alleged communal land dispute between Oleh and Ozoro Kingdoms”.
Odhomor who spoke on behalf of the Patron of IAN, Chief Ovuozourie S. Macaulay, said that IAN condemned the killings of innocent people, describing it as avoidable and unfortunate.
The IAN leader noted that peace is priceless and terror is senseless.
He appealed to the peace loving people of Oleh to avoid reprisal attacks as this will escalate the already unfortunate situation.
He counselled that both sides should exercise abundant restraint in the greater interest of Isoko, because it will be devastating to have escalated hostilities between the two administrative headquarters of the Isoko nation.
Chief Odhomor further noted that the issue is now beyond the Isoko Development Union alone and as such must work in sync with government to find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis.
In his words “we call on both sides to exercise caution in the interest of peace. If hostilities continue, it will lead to a very destructive war that can bring about wanton loss of more lives and properties. We cannot afford the cost of this looming crisis. It will disrupt the advancement and gains we have made as a people”!
“Our people especially the users and administrators of social media spaces should use the tool of social media to as much as possible de-escalate the already tensed situation.
While commending the leadership of both Isoko North and South Local Government for their respective efforts towards peace building in the ethnic nationality, he called on the State Government to immediately meet with critical stakeholders on both sides, with the aim of restoring lasting peace to the area.
He recommended that an all embracing Peace and Reconciliation Committee should be constituted to lay to rest all issues that have led to the crisis in the first place.
Odhomor, in the statement also called on the traditional institutions and leaders from both communities to call for calm in their domain noting that no meaningful development can thrive in an atmosphere of crisis.
The statement he personally signed, further noted, “There should be only one fight in our beloved Isoko today: our shared battle for the advancement of the interests of the Isoko ethnic nationality. Poverty, unemployment, hunger and marginalization of the Isoko ethnic nationality should be the war we must win.
“To push Oleh and Ozoro into a battlefield against each other will only herald dire social, economic and political consequences. We must strive for understanding one another”, he added.