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Fresh tension as women protest over return of suspected armed militants in Okuama




By Peters Monday, Abuja

Following the brewing fresh hostilities in the riverine communities of Bomadi and Ughelli Local Government Areas of the state, the Okoloba community women in the Bomadi local government area have protested over the return of armed Okuama militants in Ughelli South local government area.

The protest came on the heel of attack of some Okugbene youths leading to the death of one person in the penultimate week, immediately after the withdrawal of soldiers stationed in the community following the killing of 17 soldiers barely a month ago.

Congress gathered that the protest was led by the chairlady of Okoloba community, Mrs Timipakebi Goodwin, and secretary, Mrs Mary Koibi. The protesting women on black attires were seen along the coastal fringe of Okoloba community, protesting against violence and bloodbath, as well as sending an S.O.S. to the federal government to come to their aid.

The placards read: “We say No to violence, enough of the killings on our land, armed Okuama youths returning in a commando style, we say No to the return of armed youths of Okuama, resettle Okuama people among their Ewu brothers in Ughelli South LGA, we mourn the killing of the 17 soldiers and among others.

The chairlady of Okoloba, Mrs Godwin, speaking to newsmen with a written address that was made available to security apparatuses, which include the police, DSS, NSCDC, JTF as well as the acting chairman of Bomadi local government council, noted that the latest killing by the youths of Okuama showed that they could kill human beings at the slightest provocation.

The women’s presentations as well as the written address read in part: “First, we the women of Okoloba community sympathize with the killing of 17 soldiers and officers of the Nigerian army on peace and rescue mission to Okuama, following the kidnap of our son. We sincerely mourn their untimely death and pray for the repose of their souls. We also pray for their families.

“However, less than 24 hours after the exit of the troops from Okuama, a fresh crisis erupted with another neighbouring community, culminating in the killing of one person while three other persons were seriously injured. The person who was killed and those sustaining machete wounds were alleged to have gone there to loot.

“The latest killing showed that the people of Okuama can kill a human at the slightest provocation; the sanctity of human life means nothing to them. It also shows that neighbouring Ijaw communities like Okoloba are not safe.

“So, resetting the people of Okuama in their present location, which is in-between communities in the Bomadi local government area, is an attempt to encourage further communal clashes and bloodbaths.

“Just last week, youths of the Okuama community came out of the Mein-toruabubor creek, which leads to Ewu, on three speedboats and all of them on camouflage. They shot sporadically in the air before proceeding to OKuama. They moved to and fro the creek three times, and at every time they shot their guns in the air at the entrance of the creek.

“We are calling on the federal government to come to our aid, and the panacea to these incessant clashes and killings is for the government to relocate Okuama to the Ewu clan in Ughelli South Local Government Area, where they truly and rightly belong.

“Resettling them among their own people in the Ewu clan of Urhobo land will foster mutual trust among themselves as they are of the same ancestry and speak the same dialect”.