Bayelsa communities clash over trial census | Dailytrust

Bayelsa communities clash over trial census

A bloody clash looms between the Okpoama and Odioma communities of Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State over the ongoing trial census following the issuance of an eviction notice to indigenes of the Otokoloama fishing community by some armed youths from Odioma community, warning that they quit within 24 hours.

The worried indigenes of Otokoloama fishing community, whose allegiance is with the Okpoama community, alleged that the armed youths that issued the notice are from Odioma community.

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It was gathered that the youths, numbering about ten and armed with AK-47 assault rifles and machetes, were alleged to have stormed the Otokoloama fishing community in a speedboat and warned the residents to leave in 24 hours.

A fisherman and resident Otokoloama community, who pleaded anonymity, via the telephone said that despite the fact that the people of the settlement have been living in the community since 1989, “the warning from the Odioma youths that we should vacate the area and claim ownership is shocking.”

He said, “They came on Wednesday and started shooting into the air to show they mean business. They​ once came with an exercise book requesting that we write the names of the residents but I refused because when I came in 1989, it was the Okpoama people that gave me permission to live in the community. It was the threat that made us leave immediately because we don’t know what they have planned.”

He called on the police and the state government to come to their aid, saying that it would be a challenge to feed his wife and six children.

Commenting on the development, the Chairman, Council of Chiefs in Okpoama Kingdom, Chief Inikio Sam Sele Dede, described the alleged action of the Odioma youths as an attempt to truncate the existing peace in the area.

He said, “Trial census was ongoing and Odioma youths were going around our communities chasing people away just to ensure that our population was reduced.

“We know their fishing settlement and they know ours. Our youths have not gone to their fishing settlements to cause trouble. We are too refined for that.”

Chief Dede, however, called on the security agencies to ensure the residents go back and live their normal life in the midst of harsh economic realities.

It was gathered that an attempt by the Brass Area Commander of the Nigeria Police Force, Oche Ochenika​ to resolve the matter on Friday failed because Odioma youths did not turn up citing the youth election conducted earlier in the week.

 

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