Emma Smith
Thu, Aug 24, 2023 6:30 PM

Delta Community Calls for Government Intervention Over Intimidation by Soldiers

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Delta Community Calls for Government Intervention Over Intimidation by Soldiers
The Ajaji community in Illah, Oshimili north council of Delta state, is appealing to the state government for intervention following the intimidation of its people by soldiers. The soldiers were allegedly engaged by an agro-allied company over a piece of ancestral farmland that is subject to pending court litigation. The community is calling for peace and for the military authorities in Asaba to stop further deployment of soldiers to intimidate its indigenes and tenant farmers.

The Ajaji community in Illah, Oshimili north council of Delta state, is appealing to the state government for intervention as soldiers continue to intimidate its residents and tenant farmers. The soldiers are allegedly acting on behalf of an agro-allied company that has trespassed into the community's ancestral farmland, which is currently the subject of a pending court case.

In a plea to the state governor, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the Diokpa of the Ajaji community, Francis Ndudi Chukwurah, highlighted the need for peace and urged the governor to rescue the Ajaji indigenes from the ongoing mayhem. The community is also requesting intervention to halt the deployment of soldiers by the military authorities in Asaba for intimidation purposes.

The community expressed disappointment that despite the pending court case, the previous administration issued a Certificate of Occupancy to the company, Norsworthy Agro Allied Limited. The community questions how the state government could grant a private company rights to an ancestral land that is still under litigation.

"We wonder how the state government could issue C of O to a private company in respect of ancestral land of a community when their trespass on that land is subject to litigation still pending in court," the Diokpa stated. "They even proceeded to gazette this illegality, and officials of Norsworthy exhibited these documents at the State CID, Asaba, when we appeared before the police."

Dr Kingsley Emu, the secretary to the state government, who previously served as the chairman of the state steering committee on the matter, claims that the community had been compensated and denies any land trespassing by the company.

"I'm aware that the community had been paid compensation, so I don't know what they want," Dr Emu said. "We have an MoU fully executed to cover the parcel of land, both the reserved and the portion of Ajaji we took. Norsworthy has been a very peaceful company, and I don't know what the community wants again. Any attempt to enter the land is an infringement."

In addition to the land dispute, the community also expressed concern about the arrest of twelve farmers by soldiers at one of the community's farm settlements. According to the Diokpa, these farmers were arrested while planting crops and taken to the police station before being moved to the State CID in Asaba.

The Ajaji community is hopeful that the state government will intervene to restore peace and protect their rights. They are calling on the governor to address the issue and ensure that the community and its farmers are no longer subjected to intimidation and arrest.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-24 News

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