The President General of Ozoro Progress Union (OPU) Chief Miller Akpoili has refuted allegations that he was instigating crisis in the disputed area between Ozoro and Oleh as recently alleged by the President-General of Oleh Community, Comrade Believe Alakri during a press briefing in Oleh.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week at his office in Opute Hall, Ozoro, Chief Akpoli said that contrary to the spurious allegations by his Oleh counterpart, the Ozoro people, including the land-owning families in the disputed area are law-abiding and are very ready for the Delta State government to implement the White Paper on the matter.
According to the Ozoro PG, “We were invited to Asaba recently and the State Commissioner of Police stated that the matter was with Chief Edwin Uzor, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution to handle amicably”. He added that the Special Adviser equally expressed his readiness to visit the site in question to ascertain the exact situation on ground but that he was waiting for the Ozoro Monarch who had travelled.
Chief Akpoli stated further that he has always been an apostle of peace and that despite several provocative acts and malfeasance by the Oleh people, he had always sued for peace since both communities have intermarried, and share common boundaries, among other affiliations over the years.
The President-General who was flanked by the representatives of the Ozoro land-owning families emphasized that “We will not go to war neither shall we encourage it, but if we are pushed to the wall, we shall react accordingly”.
On the accusation by the Oleh President-General that the Area Commander at Ozoro Area Command of the Nigeria Police was deferring to the Ozoro people and thus not neutral in the lingering crisis, the Ozoro PG stated that he was not aware of such actions, adding that not only that the commander’s area of coverage extends far beyond Ozoro, and Isoko North Local Government Area, the officer in question is a ranking, well trained and refined officer who knows what to do professionally at any point in time.
He affirmed that both the Ozoro community and the land-owning families were awaiting the final implementation of the government’s white paper on the area in question which he said “is clearly in Ozoro land because all the casava planted in the land belong to Ozoro people and no Oleh person had either claimed ownership”.
According to him, the piece of land which caused the recent altercation is owned by the Ozoro people and it was legitimately acquired for a proposed IDP Camp by the project drivers. He then wondered that while the Oleh people flaunt a restraining order on the said area, their people are busy erecting buildings and structures in the place daily.
The PG then appealed that in the interim while the Ozoro people and the land-owning families will stay action on the said portion which ordinarily is outside the original disputed area, he cautioned that the Oleh people should equally stop further development or encroachment to avoid further escalation of the conflict.
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