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Published On: Fri, May 22nd, 2020

Enhwe/Igbide Boundary Dispute: Call For Delta Govt, Isoko Dev Union To Step In


By Young Erhiurhoro
LAGOS MAY 22ND (URHOBOTODAY)-To begin this piece, I must confess that, as a lover and preacher of peace in Nigeria especially in the Niger Delta region, I’m deeply concerned over this unwarranted and incessant killings of people, destruction of valuable properties of individuals, communities and government, destruction of peaceful communal ties, creation of enmity and hatred in the hearts of victims and even in generations yet unborn, destruction of family bonds and other social and psychological vices. The above are some of the many negative fruits of communal crises in our various communities across the Niger Delta region. Unfortunately, one common feature or natural habit of the Niger Delta people, from time of creation, through the pre- colonial times, as observed by many historians and cultural analysts, was inter- ethnic, inter-communal and internal crises.
Without doubt, from our folk history, many of the Niger Delta communities were established or founded as a result of communal rivalries or hostilities between two or more communities. To make it short, crisis runs in our veins as Niger Delta people. And to be sincere, this is not helping us as a people to grow in love and unity.
Without wasting much time, I know quite well that so many people who are also peace lovers like me, have written much about the lingering and unending crisis between Enhwe and Igbide communities. Many Isoko people and Non-Isoko are also deeply concerned about the ravaging crisis that have taken lives of so many promising young men from the two communities. As a peace lover, I want to join the league of such people to also lend my voice and contribute my little ideas on how to end the crisis once and for all.
Enhwe and Igbide are Isoko communities. They are today located at Isoko South LGA of Delta state. These two communities naturally share common boundaries by the East Pole on Enhwe axis while by the West Pole on Igbide axis. From their folk history, the two communities were founded by different forebears. They migrated at different times to found these two communities. But by virtue of marriage, the two communities are closely related over the years. They have inter-married for centuries. There are many Enhwe people that are maternally or paternally related to Igbide. The same way, many Igbide people are related to Enhwe. These are not just youths but old men and women. This marital relationship is still tying both communities together till today. It’s a continuous social and cultural heritage and affinity.
What are we really talking about? That we should allow this crudity and ruddily of brothers killing brothers, sisters maiming sisters to continue unabated in our communities? I think, this is the crux of the whole matter. In fact, the boundary dispute between the two Isoko communities is now running into years. It’s not just something of yesterday or today. So many souls were lost to it. Many houses and landed property of both communities were also lost too. What about the love and unity that tied the people together as one? This was equally destroyed over the years. At the moment, these close communities now see each other as enemies. Enhwe people can’t enter Igbide community without blood being spilled. The same way, Igbide people wouldn’t be allowed to come to Enhwe without losing a soul. How many years will this hostility and enmity last? One will equally agree that children yet unborn would equally suffer the psychological trauma of this crisis.
However,the major purpose of writing this piece is to profer solutions to this lingering crisis between the two communities. Before we go into the nity gritty, lets take a glaringly look at the cause of this crisis. From the reports we got so far on this crisis, the two communities are laying claim to a particular parcel of land which lie between the two communities. Though the said parcel of land is water-logged and thickly forested, but part of it is highly fertile for farming. Igbide people are laying claim to the land, the same agitations were equally made by Enhwe people.
The issue must have been charged to the law court for adjudication. Yet, in all these legal and civil proceedings, the people are still killing themselves. It is a fact that so many people must have been arrested by the Nigerian Police over this matter, yet the crisis is getting worse everyday. In this case, I want to strongly appeal to the Isoko Development Union (IDU), which is the parent Isoko group to immediately wade into this matter without further delay. It has come to a time now when the consent of both communities would no longer stand in settling this issue. The leadership of the IDU as Isoko socio-cultural organization must stand on her feet to bring this crisis to a peaceful end whether the two communities like it or not.
Secondly, the Delta state government must come in to the matter as fast as possible. One of the functions of the government is to protect its citizens. In this case, the Delta state government should declare that parcel of land a government land whether the two communities like it or not. Though under the law, some of these my suggestions might not hold. But I’m suggesting them in order to create peace and stop this unwarranted everyday killings. In fact, after the declaration by the government, a Trespass Order should be placed to keep off the people of the two communities. The people should also know that in a time of war, the government have the sole right to suspend the constitution. So if the government continue to listen to the leaders of these two communities, the people will definitely exterminate themselves, yet the land in question will remain static. The Delta state government should take a proactive step now!
Thirdly, in a crisis situation like this, between two communities, it’s almost like a competition between the enlightened people of the two communities. These are political leaders, religious leaders, business gurus, traditional rulers and other top nutch of the people. These are people that are well or highly connected to the government of the day. In fact, both Enhwe and Igbide communities have such people in great numbers in this situation. By virtue of their positions, these are people that supposed to bring or create platforms for peace to reign in these two communities. But what do we see? Many of these people whose families are living in abroad would rather ignite the crisis by supporting these youths with arms, food and other needs. Many of them are donating millions of naira to make sure all the youths are killed so that their children can continue in government, even after their death. It’s very appalling!
Conclusively, these set of evil leaders must call themselves to order now since nemesis will soon catch up with them if they persist. I want to appeal to them to support government to put this crisis to an end. There is no joy in helping to kill your own people by providing war arms to them. In this case, the Isoko traditional rulers forum, indigenes of the two communities in government circles, representatives of the Isoko nation at both the national or state assemblies, must sheathe their swords and garner courage to put to an end this everyday blood spillage in both Enhwe and Igbide communities.

Young Erhiurhoro;Kjc is a reporter and a member of the Urhobo Historical Society.

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