Benin, Itsekiri Communities in Edo Bicker over Devt Levy


Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

The people of Benin and Itsekiri in Ologbo community, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State are at bickering over development levy that ought to have been paid by a land developer.

It was gathered that the sharing formula was the bone of contention between the two communities.

The clash, however, has degenerated into a bloody one as one person was allegedly killed and some properties destroyed in the process, leaving the place deserted for fear of reprisal even as soldiers were drafted to maintain peace and order in the community.

The Ologbo community is host to several oil and gas firms comprising the Binis and Itsekiri people who have been living together for a long time.

Following the clash, the police in Edo State said a peace deal has been brokered between the two tribes in the community, adding that it would ensure the peace agreement signed by the Enogie of Ologbo, HRH Owenubugie Akenzua, and the leader of the Itsekiri people, High Chief Johnson Atseleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri, is enforced.

The state Commissioner of Police, Lawan Jimeta, while speaking to journalists, said some arrests have be made.

According to him, “We have made some arrests; we have called the leaders of the two people, and they have signed a peace agreement. Communal clashes are not always easy, but we are on top of the situation.”

However, Chief Atseleghe of Itsekiri has accused HRH Akenzua of fuelling the crisis by allegedly harbouring suspected cultists in his palace, insisting that the way out of the crisis to evacuate the suspected cultists from his palace.

He alleged: “One of the boys they shot is a prominent member the Eiye confraternity. It now escalated to a cult war. A lot of people are now in the hospital. The police intervened, and we signed a peace accord. The Commissioner of Police told us to address our people. I came for the settlement, but the Enogie did not come.

“After the peace accord, we got the report that they have destroyed some Itsekiri houses in town.”

In a swift response, HRH Akenzua told journalists yesterday that “I don’t know of any cultist in the palace. People who come to the palace are indigenes of Ologbo community, and the palace is a public place opened to all. However, you are not allowed to come to the palace and misbehave. I neither habour nor being aware of any cultist coming to the palace.

“The way forward is for Atseleghe to recognise that he is staying in Benin land because he goes about saying he is the head of all Itsekiris in Benin land. They stay in Benin land but are from Delta State, so they must subject themselves to the administration of Enogie who represents the Oba of Benin.”