The people of Otonyasere community in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State have called on the state government to wield the big stick on a prominent Itsekiri chief from Abigborodo community in Warri North Local Government Area, Chief Emmanuel Oritsejolomi Uduaghan and his cohorts who are hell-bent on encroaching on their land.
Recall that the Delta State Government following the breakdown of law, order and breach of the peace in some communities bordering the Okpe-Urhobo (Ukpe-Sobo) forest reserve over claims of ownership of the land on Friday, January 7, 2022, in a statement signed by the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, took some appropriate measures to contain the situation in line with its White Paper on the Report of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry on the land dispute.
Apart from adopting some key recommendations of the Panel, the state government urged all persons, families and communities involved in the matters relating to the Okpe-Urhobo (Ukpe-Sobo) Forest Reserve Areas in the interest of peace and stability to cease all hostilities and maintain law and order.
Addressing newsmen at a press conference held on Saturday, January 29, 2022, at Otonyasere community town hall, Chairman, Otonyasere community, Deacon Austin Arieja, accused Chief Emmanuel Oritsejolomi Uduaghan of the continued show of power in an attempt to encroach on their land despite government position on the matter.
Deacon Arieja, said the people of Otonyasere community now live in fear of hoodlums, miscreants and hired thugs terrorising them from time to time over their own land and earnestly require the state government to take a firm step to halt the ugly trend capable of igniting communal clash between Otonyasere community in Sapele and Abigborodo community in Warri North Local Government Area.
He said if Chief Emmanuel Oritsejolomi Uduaghan has a legitimate claim to any portion of land in Otonyasere community he should approach the owners of the land or file a civil action in the law court.
Going back to memory lane, Deacon Arieja, said Otonyasere land is part of an expanse of land that formed the Okpe-Sobo forest reserve as constituted under the forestry ordinance Chapter 95 as amended by the forestry amendment ordinance of No 2 1927 and Order No 33 of 1933, approved on the 30th day of July 1933.
According to him, the legitimate owners of Otonyasere land as in the 2nd Schedule order 3 of 1933 are Ofomala, Arieja, his great-great-grandfather, Unushemi, Biogoro, Aghorushe Agboro, Idu, Majemite and others.
He, therefore, cautioned those trespassing into the Otonyasere land as the community is capable of resisting them legally adding that the claim by Abigborodo community that Okonedo owns part of the land that forms the forest reserve is false and unfounded.