There is a feeling of injustice and high-handedness in Uzanu community in South East Uneme, Etsako East local government area of Edo State over the dissolution of the clan and deposition of its traditional ruler, Benjamin Ikani, the Oliola of Uzanu clan, by the state government.
The community described Saturday’s action by the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, as political and an oppression of the people of the clan, attributing it to the feud between the governor, his deputy governor, Philip Shaibu on the one hand, and the minister of budget and national planning, Clement Agba, who hails from the area.
Governor Obaseki had approved the dissolution of the clan over alleged non-adherence to peace initiatives between it and its Igiode neighbour.
A statement by the secretary to the state government, Osarodion Ogie, said, “the State Government has also withdrawn the appointment of HRH Benjamin Ikani as the Oliola of Uzanu clan of South East Uneme with immediate effect”.
According to the terse statement, the action was “predicated on the incessant and flagrant disregard to peace agreement and government’s directive to maintain peace in Uzanu community and its environs by the Oliola.”
But faulting the government’s action in a press statement signed by the Secretary of Uzanu Progressive Union, Kabiru Idris, the embattled community described the action of the state government as political, attributing it to a political difference between the deputy governor, and the minister of state for budget and national planning.
Contrary to the reasons given by government, Idris insisted that the issue of boundary dispute between the two communities had been resolved through the court up to the Supreme Court.
According to him, “This issue has been on for over 50 years and were fully settled through series of litigations initiated by Igiode community in Weppa Wanno clan through Chief Augustine Alimikhena in Suit No. HAU/28/78 delivered by the Hon. Justice J.B. Amissah of the Auchi High Court on 20th November 1979, and Suit No. HAU/13/72 delivered by Hon. Justice J. Omo-Eboh on 10th August, 1973. All the decisions in these suits were in favour of Uzanu community.
“The appeal to the Supreme Court No. 386/74 filed by Igiode community in Weppa Wanno clan was dismissed for want of diligent prosecution on 26th January 1976 as presided over by Justice G.S. Sowemmimo, while another appeal No. SC/111/74 was struck out.
“It is clear from the above facts that the Edo State government is oppressing Uzanu community simply because of political differences between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba.
“We therefore appeal to the Edo State government and the people of Igiode to let Uzanu people live in peace”.
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