Three persons have been allegedly shot dead over the unresolved market tussle between Otor-Iwhreko and Ekiugbo communities in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Investigations by Nigerdeltaconnect revealed that the deceased men and a woman were shot and their corpses dropped at the entrance to one of the communities.
A reliable source from one of the communities, stated that, “we have no issues with them because the matter is before the Delta State Government and our traditional ruler and we have been living peacefully.
“But in the afternoon on Thursday, April 29, two of our brothers, one simply identified as Odibo Odugbo and the other whose name cannot be ascertained, were killed and they dropped off their corpses at the market with Siena car that had inscriptions of local vigilante.
The source further disclosed that, “They came with two vehicles shooting sporadically and one woman who sells plastics at the market was shot and with the information at our disposal, she has died from the bullets.
It was further revealed that she the corpse of the father of the boy killed by same people, has not been found and they have come again to kill his son.
Another source alleged that traders in the market were mandated to pay an annual levy of N5,000 by one of the communities and this was what generated the killing last week Thursday.
“While men from one of the communities were trying to forcefully extort the said amount of money, men from the other community came and shot two men dead as well as a woman who sells plastics”.
The Delta State Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Edafe Bright confirmed the incident.
A senior police officer attached to the Ughelli Area Command also confirmed the incident, saying “The police are on the matter as investigation is going on as we have drafted in our men to maintain peace till now”.
All efforts to speak with the President General of both communities proved abortive as they refused picking their calls.
Meanwhile, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) Worldwide has called on the two communities of Ekiugbo and Iwhreko in Ughelli Kingdom to sheathe their swords.
The organisation urged the two communities to allow peace to reign and allow constitutional and traditional authorities look into their grievances, with a view to bringing a permanent solution to the lingering crisis over the ownership and control of the Ughelli Main Market.
A statement issued by Hon. Abel Oshevire, National Publicity Secretary of the UPU, reads in part:
“Our President-General, Worldwide, Olorogun Dr. Moses Taiga, is very worried and unhappy at the renewed hostilities between the two sister communities and appeal for calm.
“The aggrieved parties should lay down their weapons and allow the relevant arms of government, traditional leaders and other stakeholders intervene in the matter.
“Communities can only enjoy economic growth and prosperity in an atmosphere of peace. With economic prosperity comes development, with positive and lasting spiral effect on both communities.
“As Urhobo people, we share common ancestry and blood links. Our tradition and culture, importantly the laws of the country, forbid the shedding of blood and destruction of properties. No piece of land or property is worthy of any form of blood shedding or destruction, especially by children of a common blood and ancestry.
“Peace between the communities is crucial to finding a lasting solution to the lingering dispute, we therfore call on the Chairman of Ughelli North Local Government Area and the State Government to urgently intervene in this unending hostilities over the Ughelli Main Market by evolving a permanent solution”.
The statement further appeals to all well-meaning sons and daughters of the two communities to step into the matter and call the war mongers to order.
“We are also appealing to both political and community leaders of Ekiugbo and Otor-Iwhreko to step into the matter immediately and call their wards to order. The matter must not be allowed to escalate beyond the present state”.