Crisis in Ondo, Ogun communities over boundary

ANOTHER round of crisis on Tuesday broke out between two neighbouring communities of Atijere in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State and a boundary town, Makun-Omi, in Ogun State, over land tussle, leaving many injured.

The two communities had been laying claims to the ownership of a piece of land while the boundary commission had intervened in the crisis before crisis erupted on Tuesday evening.

It was gathered that, the people of the two communities have been living in peace not until recently, when the people of Makun – Omi began laying claim to a small community before Atijere, known as Limorisa.

According to a source, trouble started on Monday evening when some armed men from Makun-Omi blocked the road leading to Atijere, turning back all vehicles entering the area, and vowed not to allow the people of area to gain entry in to Atijere.

He said the Divisional Police Officer, in the area was informed on the development and urged the people to embrace peace but the armed men from Makun-Omi refused and the men had to sleep at the boundary between the two communities.

He however said that the armed men returned in the early morning in two 18 seater buses threatening to kill anybody who lay claim to the land.

He explained that the traditional head of Atijere was informed about the development and reported to the police station but before help could come their way, the men from Makun- Omi have invaded the coastal community of Atijere. Shooting sporadically and injured some resident of the community.

Speaking on the crisis, the traditional ruler of Atijere, Oba Samuel Edema, said the boundary crisis had been between the two communities for a long time and said “we have taken some steps to put an end to this incessant crisis between the two communities.

“We invited the officials of the boundary commission and they fixed a meeting between the two communities where it was resolved that the commission will meet with us on Monday on November 28.

“We also communicated this to the secretary of the boundary commission in the state but because of the Ondo State governorship election, we called for the postponement of the meeting with the boundary commission, in order to allow the state officials to be part of the truce.”

He however expressed over the presence of the officials of the boundary commission who visited the area on Monday, saying “we told them we cannot participate in the exercise”

The monarch said he was surprised to see some armed men invading Atijare, sacking the people of the community, saying some of the residents were shot in the process while majority of the residents of the Atijere have deserted the community.

Oba Edema explained that there was a natural boundary between the two communities from time immemorial, saying the area where the red earth surface ends belongs to the Makun Omi, while the Atijere territory starts where they have the white sands, being a coastal community.

He however disclosed that he escaped being killed by the armed men who he alleged were sponsored and working for the chairman of the Ijebu waterside, saying he was guided out of the town by some of his subjects through waterways.

He called on the state police command and the state government to come to their aids saying “as I am talking to you now, I am hiding in one of the communities in the coastal area and our people have been displaced. We are calling on government and security operatives to come to our aids before it is too late.”

Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the State Command, Femi Joseph, said the command drafted his men to the area to return and maintain peace in the area.

He also said men of the Nigerian Navy from the two states have been drafted to the area to ensure that peace is maintained in the two communities with an assurance that the crisis will be resolved very soon.