Ijaw Community Cries Out over Military Invasion


Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Gelegele, an Ijaw community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo, has cried out over alleged invasion of the area by the Army from 19 Battalion,  Koko and 4 Brigade, Benin.

Spokesman of the community, Chief Macaulay Ayiwei, who raised the alarm yesterday when he spoke with newsmen in Benin City, said they woke up to see the Army, over 50 in number strategically positioned around the community.

The spokesman alleged that the high presence of the military may not be unconnected with the land dispute between it and Benin community of Ughoton.

Ayiwei further alleged that the matter which had degenerated between the Ijaw community and Palace of Benin, had caused a strain in the relationship between the Gelegele community and the Binis.

Ayiwei who said the land dispute was currently before the State High Court, wondered why the military would take over the whole Ijaw community of Gelegele.

“Yes, the court is billed to sit on this matter on Monday and Tuesday, but what are they (Army) doing here taking over the whole community?

“If there is no sinister motive about this, why will a detachment of military from Delta and Edo States, armed with gunboats, take over a whole community as early as 6am on Friday.

“While we have them around the community, about five truck load of them are stationed at Ekenwan baracks as we speak.

“The whole Gelegele community is in utter confusion as to what is happening. We are also not unaware that their presence has something to do with the dispute between the Ijaw community and Benin.

“While we appeal to our people to remain calm, we are also calling on the President to call the army, especially the 4 Brigade Commandant, who is a Benin man, to order and not to plunge the state into crisis.

Meanwhile, the Army has urged the people to go about their normal business and there was no course for alarm.

The spokesman of the 4 Brigade of the Nigeria Army, Capt. Mohammed Maidawa, described the presence of the army as a normal routine exercise.