• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh dispute resolution: Communities want quick implementation

Oborevwori approves automatic employment for Delta best graduating student

…Delta SSG recounts how past govts failed to resolve impasse

One of the major reasons disputes are prolonged and sometimes snowball into full-blown crises that claim lives and property, is the inability of appropriate authorities to act on time.

Aladja Community in Udu Local Government Area and Ogbe-Ijoh Community in Warri South-West LGA, both in Delta State, do not want this following the resolution of their age-long land dispute that claimed lives and property of the affected communities.

The dispute was resolved recently with both parties agreeing to the terms of resolution reached at the enlarged stakeholder meeting involving representatives of the both parties and other relevant persons, held in the office of the Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG).

According to them, delays by the previous military regimes and civilian administrations had contributed in the land disputes lingering which BusinessDay learnt has also affected development in the area.

They believe that the end to the dispute has come should the state government keep to its word rather than delay.

Anthony Jolomo, a high chief and representative of the Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom in Warri South West LGA who spoke for the community, commended the state government for convening the instant meeting but said they want the government not to hesitate to implement the resolutions reached.

He recalled that delays and hesitation in the implementation of previous peace initiatives had allowed the dispute to fester.

Also, Otto Ogbiruruets, a representative of the traditional rulers of Aladja, in company of Paulson Obiebi, expressed happiness over the peaceful resolution, saying it was the first sign of very positive action on the part of the government to end the dispute.

They however, want sincerity to be upheld by both sides for the goal of peace to be achieved.

Kingsley Emu, the Delta SSG had at the meeting, recounted how attempts by the past military and civilian governments to resolve the age-long boundary dispute between the two communities could not see the light of day.

He said that long-standing boundary dispute has now been resolved by the incumbent administration led by Sheriff Oborevwori.

“Past administrations of the state government (military and civilian) had tried to intervene by setting up various panels of inquiries such as the Justice Azinge Inquiry of 1996; Justice Nwulu Inquiry of 2009, and Prof. Ekoko’s Panel of 2016 to settle the issue, but without success.

“There was also a private initiative by some eminent Deltans to mediate the crises, which was led by Chief Edwin Ekpoko, but unfortunately, their efforts did not yield the desired results.

“The immediate past administration of Ifeanyi Okowa also made efforts to resolve the conflict through the Office of the Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution, which had officials of the Ministries of Lands and Survey, Justice, representatives of both communities, and Chairmen of the Councils at that time.

“The team made good progress by demarcating the boundaries between the two communities from Warri River up to Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja road to the satisfaction of both communities, but the demarcation from this point up to Major General Dumeje’s Canal was not acceptable to them.

“At this point, after further consultation, the team worked with the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly to re-align the line of division for this particular segment of the boundary.”

The SSG noted that Oborevwori’s administration, disturbed by the enduring stalemate on the dispute, through the Ministry of Youth Development in conjunction with the office of the SSG, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Peace and Conflict Resolutions and the Ministry of Justice, brokered a dialogue between the youth leaders and other stakeholders of both communities who presented 12 representatives each.

“Far reaching resolutions were taken at the two-day consultation meeting with the communities where it was agreed that they should go home and meet with critical segment of their communities and come out with unanimous resolutions and recommendations which would be binding on them and they were to revert to the government on the collective resolutions of their communities.

“The outcome of this engagement with the youths led to an enlarged stakeholder meeting,” he said.

He also said that the present administration in the state remained committed to the course of development across the state, and for which peace is an indispensable factor.

“Moreover, it was the position of the government that this meeting with both sides would be the last mediation effort to terminate the boundary dispute and free up the area for development and for freedom to thrive.

He noted that the government was not willing to play politics with lives and properties.

In conclusion, the SSG said that the state government had resolved that the boundary line already established by the Special Adviser on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution and his team which leads from Warri River up to Major General Dumeje’s Canal would be upheld by the government.

He also stated that the state government has acquired the remaining portion of the disputed territory which starts from Major General Dumeje Canal as a reserve, adding that a gazette would be issued in due course to this effect and which will provide the survey description of the area and that Governor Oborevwori will make a proclamation on the acquisition.

The Obuzor of Ibuzor, His Royal Majesty, Obi Prof Louis Nwoboshi, who represented the Chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, also reiterated the need for peaceful co-existence of communities in the state, while calling on Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh Communities to sustain the peace brokered between them by the state government.

At the end of the meeting, the SSG thanked Governor Oborevwori for his commitment, consistency, objectivity and political will power to deliver on the peace process in the Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh boundary dispute.