Don’t Cede our Land to Other Communities, Auchi Tells Shaibu

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Auchi Cooperative Union in Etsako Local Government Area, Edo State saturday warned the Deputy Governor, Mr. Philil Shaibu to cede Auchi land to other neighbouring communities in the awaiting boundary adjustment.

The Chairman of the cooperative union, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammed gave the warning in a statement, saying there might be another communal strife similar to what happened in 1982 if the plan succeeded.

Muhammed explained that the Ighodoro Commission of Enquiry had already settled what the deputy governor, who is from Jattu, a community in Etsako West LGA wanted to do.

He explained that the commission settled the boundary issues between Auchi and Ikpeshi, Auchi and Ivbiaro, Auchi and Warrake, Auchi and Agbede and Auchi and Iyakpi contained in a government white paper signed into law on April 7, 1984.

He recalled that the communal conflict of 1982 occurred when the people of Jattu violated the traditional boundaries established in the May 17, 1942 boundary settlement.

Since then, he said peace “has returned to the area until Shaibu, a native of Jattu whose determination is to take vengeance on the Auchi people decided to do otherwise.

“The climax was reached on February 4, 2020 when the people of Warrake moved into Auchi farm land, armed with shot guns, AK47, pump action and cutlasses,” he said.

He alleged that they kidnapped 52 residents and eight workers of Ezo Nigeria Ltd paid to clear land for cultivation under a memorandum of understanding between the Elephant Group, cassava farm cluster farmers in Etsako west LGA and Edo State.

The community leader explained that the police “at Afuze swiftly moved in, freed the hostages and handed them over to Auchi people before violent civil reprisals occur.

“The brain behind the action was not clear until the deputy governor invited representatives of Auchi Warrake and Ivbiaro to his office for a meeting on February 10.”

At the meeting, Muhammed said Shuaibu announced that all Auchi farmland – Okwilokpa, Osa, Oqwaogbodo, Ogbokpo, Okolufio where the cassava project is currently going on had been ceded to Warrake while Oghodighie now belong to Iyaro community.

He noted that the deputy governor announced that a new map “has been drawn which will be made available soon and that a technical committee set up by him will soon come and erect bacons along river Oile in Auchi as the new boundary.

“Shaibu announced that the current cassava project going on the site already paid for by the Edo State Government should stop and the contractors Ezo Nigeria Ltd should move their equipment out of the site and all Auchi farmers to stop all their farming activities on their traditional farmland.

“While the people of Auchi are patiently waiting for the Philip Shaibu new map and technical committee to come and erect boundary bacons at river Oile as the new boundary, it should be noted that any conflict replica of Ife/Modakeke and Uzanu/Ogbona civil unrest was caused by Shaibu against Auchi.

“Any attempt to change old boundaries fixed by a tribe, a people, a nation is an invitation to mayhem, clashes, chaos, internecine war and therefore an infringement upon the people’s right under the UN charter on fundamental human right of people and nation.

“Any attempt to change the gazetted government white paper of 1984 on demarcation of boundaries between communities of Etsako Local Government (as it then was) is an invitation to civil unrest.

“It will be mischievous for the deputy governor who is a neophyte in his traditional/political history of his people to attempt to redraw the political geography of his people.

“The public, federal government and stakeholders should be aware of dry tinder box about to be set ablaze by greedy and ambitious politicians,” the chairman explained.

When contacted however, Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Mr. Musa Ebomhiana said: “We shall respond to all your enquiries tomorrow and give you the official position of the state government on the matter.