At least one person has been feared killed in Edo State following the escalation of a land tussle between the Benin and Ijaw people in the Obazuwa Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state.
The PUNCH reported that one Pa Williams Amuawosa allegedly lost his life in the Obazuwa Community while the Odionwere (eldest man), Pa Agidi Roland, is also said to have been injured and is recuperating at an undisclosed hospital in the state capital.
Reports revealed that the dispute between the Benin and Ijaw people is ownership of an area called Iko or Ikoro.
The dispute escalated on Monday and according to a short video, relics of burnt buildings, a vehicle, and carcasses of animals littered the area.
Subsequently, a voice in the background accused the Ijaw of carrying out the attack on Benin people in Obazuwa.
The voice said: "Look at what the Ijaw have done to us in Obazuwa. They say they are the owners of this land in Benin, we don't know what we have done to them. They came in through the waterside and started shooting at people, destroyed and burnt their houses.
"They have been disturbing us for a long time. We want the state government and the federal government to come to our rescue. They have sent our people, including the elderly ones out of their houses."
However, reacting to the incident, the Chairman, Ijaw Youth Council, Olodiama Clan, Samuel Ebiwana, denied the allegations even as he claimed that three members of the Ijaw community are missing.
He said, "These same Obazuwa people attacked policemen on duty, my community was also destroyed by these people. They beat up vigilantes that even helped the police and after that, they came back with their youths to chase our people down to the river. We are not aware of what they are saying. We did not attack them. They are the people that attacked us. As I speak to you, three of our youths are still missing and we are still searching for them."
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Kontongs Bello, said he was yet to get a detailed briefing from the Divisional Police Officer in the area and so could not confirm the incident.
But in a swift reaction, the President, Benin Solidarity Movement, Curtis Ugbo, condemned the attack on Benin people in the area and called on the Edo State government and security agencies to immediately check the situation.