Hell was let loose on Oke-Oroma Community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area on August 12, 2021, when heavily armed hoodlums including youths from Amagba and Obazagbon villages, armed with dangerous weapons attacked the community as part of their continued bid to annex the community.
Signs of the attack were noticed when soldiers mounting road block in Oke-Oroma Community were suddenly withdrawn without warning or notice whatsoever. We are well aware that for quite some time now, Amagba Village led by one failed politician had been mounting undue pressure on the Brigade Command to withdraw their soldiers from Oke-Oroma Community. This led us to write a letter dated 4th June, 2021 to National Security Adviser(NSA), Abuja.
The recent attack by Amagba and Obazagbon youths saw the destruction of many houses including the Town Hall and the Odionwere (Village Head) mansion. We cried to the State’s Chief Security Officer(CSO) who responded and deployed vigilante as well as men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC). They made some arrest, recovered some AK47 and pump action guns. Those arrested are now in the custody of the 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army in Benin City.
This is not the first time such attack will occur on Oke-Oroma. In 2012, unarmed Oke-Oroma indigenes were attacked when an Odionwere for Oke-Oroma was to be installed. Youths from both Amagba and Obazagbon destroyed many houses and vehicles including the Oguedion (elders traditional chambers). They carted away food and drinks provided for the ceremony. We wrote several petitions to all security agencies but they did not yield the desired results. The investigations commenced in Zone 5 (AIG) last year August based on our petition to the Inspector General of Police(IGP), Abuja who referred it to AIG for urgent action is still in abeyance. The inability of the security agencies to bring the culprits to book all these years lend credence to conspiracy theory and thus promoting communal strife or war. It also opens the floodgate of anarchy, the consequences such possibilities portend are of immense and unbearable proportions which could degenerate into full scale communal war. An urgent intervention will avoid unwarranted breach of peace in our area.
An earlier attack on Oke-Oroma in February 2020, saw to the burning of many houses, several vehicles destroyed while motor saw was used to cut down all the age long traditional and economic trees. The hoodlums put their sign board in the village with the inscription “Welcome to Amagba Erese” to show that Oke-Oroma village had been conquered. Three people including an 86-year old man, Monday Okulegbe were killed and their corpses were never recovered.
There was an attempted attack on Oke-Oroma in May this year when Amagba youths backed by their Odionwere, Pa Joseph Iduoriyekemwen and over 20 policemen from the State Criminal Investigation Department(CID) but local vigilante and soldiers prevented them. They left in shame and went to a top traditional ruler’s place to constitute nuisance there.
We are forced to ask the reason for the incessant attacks by Amagba and Obazagbon without being brought to book? It is crystal clear that on the heels of the foregoing, there is in place a network of conspiratorial synergy and orchestration by Amagba, Obazagbon and Okhoromi villages to raze down Oke-Oroma village so as to execute their expansionist ambition as they did to Ugbo, Evbukhu, Oguumwenyi, Ago Uwagboe & Ogheghe villages in not too distant past.
Barr. Osaretin Idowu writes from Benin City