When there is a land dispute between warring communities in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said on Tuesday that no land is worth the blood of any Delta.
The governor specifically cautioned community leaders and residents of the state to avoid using violence to resolve disputes, especially over land ownership.
On Tuesday in Asaba, Okowa delivered a speech after receiving the report of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry into the Boundary Dispute between the Ozoro and Oleh communities in the Isoko North and Isoko South Local Government Areas.
The governor pointed out that no amount of land could lead to the death of anyone, citing the land dispute between the Oleh and Ozoro groups, in which many people were supposed to have been killed.
The governor promised that the commission’s report would be studied to produce a White Paper that would permanently settle the boundary conflict between the two feuding groups.
“We will go through the usual processes to process both the results and the suggestions, and we will be able to produce a white paper as soon as possible.
“We want to reassure you of that because the only way we can sincerely express our gratitude is to ensure that the work you have done and the time you have invested to be able to present the report today translates to peace among our Ozoro and Oleh communities,” he said.
He praised the chairman and members of the judicial commission for submitting their report on time and expressed hope that the commission’s findings and recommendations would go a long way toward fostering peaceful coexistence between the two communities.
Okowa also expressed his gratitude to the communities for appearing before the commission and assured them that his administration would make decisions that would benefit both communities.
He urged warring communities across the state to lay down their weapons to pave the way for long-term growth, emphasising that there was much that could be accomplished together in a peaceful environment.
He admitted that there were numerous boundary disputes in various parts of the state and region, but added that “by the grace of God, we have continued to tackle issues concerning boundaries with a great deal of tact and appeal.”
“We do this by ensuring that we maintain processing integrity so that we can settle as many boundary conflicts as possible.
“I want to express my gratitude to Deltans in general for working with us as a government to achieve this goal. We just recently investigated the Okpe-Urhobo Forest Reserve situation, and we are now receiving the opinion of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry into the Ozoro-Oleh boundary conflict.
“I am glad that Deltans have realised that in a peaceful setting, there is a lot that we can all enjoy; there is a lot that we can all achieve as a state, as a government, and as a people,” Okowa said.
Earlier, Justice Marcel Okoh, the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry, stated in his report that memoranda were obtained from parties interested in the conflict during the Commission’s public hearings.
During the proceedings, the two communities expressed their willingness to enable peace to reign and expressed hope that the commission’s recommendations would assist the state government in establishing long-term peace and reconciliation among the Ozoro and Oleh people, according to Okoh.
He thanked the governor for appointing him and the other members of the Commission, stating that the assignment provided them with a unique opportunity to investigate the causes and solutions to the communal crisis between the two groups.
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