Leaders of Orhua, Oke, Umokpe and Ekpan in Irhue Clan, Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State have raised an alarm over what they described as “invasion” of their communities by suspicious men carrying sophisticated guns, bows, arrows, cutlasses and other lethal weapons.
A press statement signed by Comrade Tony Erha and Patrick Erhunsee, co-ordinator general and deputy director of Okpamakhi Initiative, on behalf of the communities, said they have it on good authority that the “invaders” were transported to Oke-Irhue in the clan, by the multi-national firm in the area.
They also said the community dwellers were now living in fear because they know that the men were employed to, “unleash terror, killing, blood-letting and mayhem against innocent villagers of our Irhue clan”.
It is, “punishment for the refusal to allow the forceful acquisition of the over 8,000 hectares of our forest reserve, which was illegally sold by Iyayi Group of Companies to A & Hatman Limited and resold to Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc by A & Hatman Ltd, which the Edo State Government has for long revoked and gazetted”.
They said, “on Sunday, May 1, 2016, the innocent inhabitants of Oke-Irhue village end of the Irhue clan were shocked to see several truckloads of the strange and suspicious armed men moved into the village, while more of them moved into the village by road and the bushes”.
They then appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to use their good offices to immediately rescue their communities from annihilation by those they called invaders.
Meanwhile, indications are that men from the Ehor Police Division in Uhonwonde were drafted to the villages, and they succeeded in driving out the dangerous looking men from Uhiere town, the next village.
When contacted Dr. Graham Heifer, managing director of the Okomu Oil Company Plc, a South African national, was said to be outside the country.
However, it was gathered that Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, recently told Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc and others to vacate the land and stop planting on the land they had already bulldozed.