Two Killed, Eight Injured As Ondo Communities Clash Over Land

Two Killed, Eight Injured As Ondo Communities Clash Over Land

Two people have been killed during a communal clash that broke out between residents of Araromi Obu in Odigbo local council area and the Ikales in Okitipupa local council area of Ondo State.

The two communities have been embroiled in a land tussle for a while.

Properties worth millions of naira like houses and vehicles were badly damaged during the clash as people scampered for safety.

SaharaReporters gathered that an Ondo State High Court in Akure had ruled in favour of Ikale as the rightful owner of the land.

Dissatisfied, the leaders of Araromi Obu later got an injunction stopping the court judgment to take effect.

It was learned that the Ikale people were acting on the court ruling which declared them as the real owner of the disputed land.

Ayokunle Okunomo, a witness, said the people of Ikale invaded the Ago Alaye villages in Araromi Obu and prevented the locals from going into their farms.  

Okunomo said the invaders had to move from house to house to unleash terror on the people and this led to the clash.  

He alleged that the people of Ikale had been threatening to forcefully reclaim the land after the court ruling.

According to him, no less than eight people were attacked and wounded.

Omololu Meroyi, one of the leaders of the Araromi Obu community, said that socio-economic activities had been grounded due to the attacks.

Meroyi claimed that Araromi Obu, which is their ancestral land, had been in existence for close to 500 years.

He said, “A court case gave parts of our land to Ikale people but an appeal has been filed to that effect. We were all  born in Araromi Obu and we have never had any landlord. We have only had people who beg us to give them our land for farming.

“And we have been living peacefully until the unwarranted attacks on us by the ikales. They invaded our lands destroying properties and goods while killing innocent people of the community.

“We are not ready to cede our lands to anybody and we want the people to know that we are the owners of the land. It has never been in the history that we are tenants on our land and our current monarch is the 18th oba. The farmers in our community can not got to their farms again and the workers are also afraid of traveling to their places of work.”

He noted that their resolve not to retaliate should not be seen as an act of cowardice.

Femi Joseph, Police spokesman in Ondo State, confirmed the attack in a telephone interview with our correspondent. 

He said police officers had been deployed in the towns to maintain peace and orderliness. The police spokesperson added that some arrests had been made while doing an investigation. 

“Already, our officers have restored normalcy to the town,” Joseph said.

Meanwhile, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has imposed twenty four hour curfew in the Ago Alaye community.

Akeredolu said the curfew became necessary following the preliminary reports received in the wakes of the violent clash between the locals. 

The governor stated this in a statement by Donald Ojogo, the government’s spokesperson.

The statement read, “It [the curfew] is in the overall interest of the inhabitants of the area as well as adjoining towns and villages.  The need to prevent the unfortunate incident from escalating also reinforces this action.

“All inhabitants in the affected area are enjoined to take maximum advantage of this step being taken by obeying the order. Security agencies are by this action mandated to enforce the curfew to the fullest.”

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