Okowa Inaugurates Panel of Inquiry on Ogbe-Ijoh/Aladja Crisis

  • Says communal clashes create ‘image problems’ for state

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Wednesday inaugurated an eight-member panel of inquiry to find a lasting solution to the lingering communal feud between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja communities in Warri South-West and Udu local government areas, respectively.

Inaugurating the body, which has Professor Abednego Ekoko as Chairman, at the Government House, Asaba, Okowa lamented the negative consequences of communal clashes over boundary disagreement for peace and security.

He also said it would affect the attraction of investments into the state and its overall development.

Two previous panels of enquiry set up by the state government had proffered recommendations but the communal clashes have continued unabated.

He stressed that such disputes, if not contained, have the tendency to breed mutual suspicion and to trigger a chain of retaliatory reactions to the disruption of social and economic activities between rival communities over time.

It is against this backdrop that his administration does not treat issues of communal feud and boundary dispute with kid gloves as their implication for peace and security need no over-emphasis, Okowa noted while charging members of the committee to do the needful.

According to the governor, “This administration is always committed to the pursuit of peace and security in all communities. Boundary crises have continued to create avoidable hate among ourselves and our youths who are now trained to see each other as enemies. We need to do the right thing, which is to settle for peace so as to allow meaningful development to take place.

“Boundary crisis is inimical to orderly development and also creates image problems for the state; such acts contribute to frustration and disenchantment experienced by members of the society. Economically, it can scare away potential investors and the relocation of existing industries in our communities to other states, thereby creating avoidable economic challenges for our state.”