Boundary dispute tears pleasant Ekiti, Kwara communities aside

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ABIODUN NEJO observes the anticipation for a everlasting answer to the boundary feud, remodeling former allies, Eda Oniyo (Ekiti) and Obbo Aiyegunle (Kwara), into adversaries

In Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Walls”, written in 1914, two neighbours come collectively yearly to rebuild the partitions between them. When certainly one of them contemplates an space that doesn’t want a wall, the opposite replies, “Good fence makes good neighbours.”

The neighbour even emphasises the assertion, “good fence makes good neighbours” by repeating it in one other a part of the poem.

Two erstwhile pleasant communities, Eda Oniyo within the Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti State and Obbo-Aiyegunle in Kwara State are at this time at daggers drawn in opposition to one another over their boundary, as the 2 communities are laying declare to the possession of a parcel of land between them.

Each of the communities is telling its story in beneficial methods to ascertain its possession of the land in dispute whereas countering the place of the opposite, claiming that its forebears gave the disputed land to the individuals of the opposite to farm.

The no-love-lost relationship over the boundary between two neighbouring communities turned extra pronounced in April, when the Eda Oniyo group accused the Obbo Aiyegunle individuals of invading its group, vandalising the native authorities secretariat, autos, and homes and as properly injuring a farmer.

The Obbo Aiyegunle group was fast to debunk it, saying the Ekiti State neighbours had been the aggressors and that regardless of provocations; the Kwara group had been capable of rein in its youths, thus stopping them from any retaliatory assault.

The lack of life at Eda Oniyo, Ekiti State, on Saturday, May 18, 2024, in the midst of a conflict between the 2 communities has, nonetheless, modified the course of the boundary dispute.

Just because the Obbo Aiyegunle and the Eda Oniyo communities have discordant claims over possession of the land and assaults, they aren’t on the identical web page as properly on the circumstances surrounding the demise of the 32-year-old Bayo Agbetoke from the Ekiti group.

Tension over killing

There is pressure within the Eda Oniyo group over the killing of Agbetoke through the conflict between individuals of the group and youths of Obbo Aiyegunle, though the 2 communities have totally different tales to inform concerning the circumstances resulting in the casualty.

The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, saddened by the killing, urged safety companies to research and fish out the killers of the Ekiti indigene.

The Deputy Governor, Mrs Monisade Afuye, who represented Oyebanji throughout a sympathy go to to the Eleda of Eda Oniyo, Oba Julius Awolola and the household of the deceased, on Monday, May 20, 2024, mentioned, “This killing was extremely devastating and uncalled for.

“The authorities of Governor Oyebanji locations excessive worth on the safety of lives and property and underneath no guise would he permit anybody to kill any Ekiti indigene and go scot-free. I guarantee you, the killers will probably be delivered to ebook.

“I really sympathise with you on the death of one of you. But I want to appeal to you not to take a reprisal action. Continue to maintain peace, no matter the level of provocation. The government is on top of the situation, we are with you.”

The state authorities, on Sunday, May 19, acknowledged, “Available information indicated that the boundary dispute between the Eda Oniyo and the Obbo Ayegunle communities escalated when armed men from Obbo Ayegunle attacked Eda Oniyo on Saturday. One person from the community (Eda Oniyo) was reportedly killed in the fracas.”

Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Taiwo Olatunbosun, who appealed to residents of the Eda Oniyo group to stay calm, mentioned, “Soldiers, police and members of the Amotekun Corps had already moved to the area to protect the community.”

Olatunbosun mentioned that “the Army formation in Kwara State has been contacted to deploy troops along the Kwara side of the border, to curtail further attack from both sides.”

Relating how the Saturday assault occurred, the Eleda, Oba Awolola, mentioned, “The Obbo individuals got here armed into our city. They couldn’t assault the secretariat as a result of some policemen had been there.

“They came into the town to attack us. They vandalised the windows of no fewer than two buildings and they, in the process, killed one of our men. It was when they were resisted by our people that they retreated to Obbo Ayegunle,” the monarch mentioned.

But the President of Obbo Aiyegunle Descendants’ Union, Enoch Ade Ogun, who mentioned that Obbo youths neither invaded nor attacked Eda Oniyo that Saturday, nonetheless, mentioned, “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.”

Ogun, whereas explaining what occurred in a press release, mentioned, “Three Obbo males, particularly: Adewale Fatiroti, Bode Osasona and Sola Omotoso, returning residence that Saturday from a social operate at Isan-Ekiti on a motorcycle, had been accosted by the Eda individuals in a bus. You should cross by means of Eda from Obbo, going to or getting back from Isan-Ekiti.

“The Obbo males had been attacked, however the one using the bike managed to flee from the scene. As he was racing residence, he noticed from a distance how they had been manhandling and stabbing Osasona with a machete. He received residence and raised the alarm that the Eda individuals may need killed the 2 males.

“This was why some Obbo males mobilised to Eda with the desperation to rescue the lads in Eda’s captivity. But the lads met troopers on the fringes of Eda city, who questioned them about their mission. They defined that they weren’t there for hassle however for the return of two Obbo males in Eda individuals’s custody.

“With the troopers’ intervention, the 2 males had been launched to them and, opposite to the impression created; they (Obbo individuals) didn’t assault wherever. They couldn’t have attacked wherever with the troopers’ presence.

“They were returning home after the two men were released to them, but, unknown to them, the Eda youths had mobilised and they ambushed the Obbo men on the way, firing at them. The men had to defend themselves and it became a free-for-all. It was in the process that the casualty was recorded,” Ogun mentioned.

Responsibility for violence

As the case has been, every group is blaming the opposite for the violence.

The Eleda accused the Obbo Aiyegunle individuals of barging into the city with weapons and vandalising properties, injuring individuals and even killing a local, however the OADU president, talking on behalf of the Obbo Oniyo group, described the Eda individuals because the aggressors.

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In the April 16 incident, Oba Awolola had mentioned that one of many farmers injured by the Obbo Aiyegunle individuals within the assault was rushed to hospital the place he obtained medical consideration.

The Eda Oniyo monarch mentioned, “People from Obbo-Ayegunle, a Kwara State group, have been farming on our land, however the authorities of Ekiti State needs to make use of the land for teens and deployed gear there, preparatory to the graduation of the work. That was what provoked them [the Obbo Aiyegunle people] to assault us.

“They came on bikes. I was even at my farm at that time, they went to vandalise our (Ilejemeje) local government secretariat and then attacked some of our people who were already at their farms. Cars parked at the roadside were vandalised, and three motorbikes were set ablaze. One of the farmers who were beaten has been hospitalised.”

The conventional ruler, who mentioned pressure was increase in the neighborhood at the moment, mentioned the Ekiti State authorities, following the incident, appealed for calm and suggested residents in opposition to any reprisal.

But the Obbo Aiyegunle individuals gave a opposite report because the OADU president mentioned the Eda Oniyo monarch was at all times frightening the Kwara group by siting initiatives on the Obbo finish to seize their land.

Ogun mentioned, “Following the identical sample as prior to now through the reign of this Eleda, Eda youths invaded Obbo farmlands and destroyed lots of of hectares of cashew timber, all executed at evening and on Sunday (April 14).

“At the time of penning this report (mid-April), they’re nonetheless slicing down cashew timber, destroying cassava and yam farms unabated. The Owa l’obbo and his excessive chiefs appealed and have continued to enchantment to Obbo youths to not retaliate.

“Obbo youths have been restless because of the problem of kidnappers in one section of their land and another part, a series of attacks on farmlands by our brothers who we accommodated in 1957,” the Obbo individuals acknowledged.

Land possession claims

A vital subject right here is that each the Eda Oniyo and the Aiyegunle Obbo communities are claiming to have accommodated the opposite, as they each lay declare to the possession of the disputed land.

The Eleda mentioned it was saddening that some individuals from Obbo Aiyegunle had allegedly been invading his city, arresting individuals indiscriminately and clamping them in detention over an unlimited plot of land situated between the 2 cities.

Oba Awolola mentioned, “Obbo Aiyegunle farmers had been paying royalty to Eda Oniyo on the land for many years, just for them to cease and begin making spirited efforts to forcibly take over the land from my individuals.

“The land underneath dispute belongs to Eda Oniyo, primarily based on the National Boundary Commission decision concerning the presence of Ondo State’s pillar on the land and backed by a doc gazetted as authorized Notice No 126 of 1954 underneath Western Region.

“Obbo Aiyegunle relocated to their current location in 1927, whereas Eda Oniyo Ekiti had settled within the city for the reason that 14th Century, sharing boundaries with Etan and Eruku in Kwara State.

“In 2008, there was a gathering referred to as by the NBC between the 2 communities the place some resolutions had been made in favour of Ekiti that the authorized discover No 126 of 1954 needs to be allowed to face as a result of it stays the extant doc and but to be amended.

“They can’t use threat and violence to retrieve that land. That boundary can’t be changed orally. They don’t have anything to contradict the 1954 document. That land belongs to Eda Oniyo and what Obbo Ayegunle is doing is an attempt by the Kwara State to rob Ekiti of its inheritance.”

The OADU president, nonetheless, insisted that Obbo Aiyegunle owned the disputed land, saying, “Eda individuals’s authentic settlement is at Ajoke. During the inter-tribal conflict, Eda individuals moved to the Omisoro space, which belonged to Ishan Ekiti.

“They settled at Omisoro for about 100 years earlier than an Ishan king (Oba Ayiti) drove them from Omisoro. They then scattered into varied models within the bush till a few of them approached our forefathers and requested to be allowed to choose Obbo land.

“They were joyfully welcomed and treated as brothers. This group eventually relocated and settled between Obbo and Iludun Ekiti in 1957 and changed their name to Eda Oniyo. Olosoro River was set as the boundary between Obbo and Eda. They were also allowed to farm freely on any Obbo land,” he mentioned.

Way ahead

Although the incident which culminated within the killing of a resident of Eda Oniyo dealt the peace course of within the boundary dispute an amazing blow, all hopes will not be misplaced as it’s believed that neither Kwara nor Ekiti state authorities will fold its arms and permit violence and killings.

The Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu, mentioned, “The Commissioner of Police, Adeniran Akinwale; the Commander of the Nigerian Army in Ekiti State, as well as the state government representatives have visited the scene to assess the situation and proffer lasting solution.”

Meanwhile, the 2 sides within the dispute had written to the Ekiti State authorities on the matter and the necessity for justice in order that the realm might have lasting peace.

Afuye, throughout a gathering with the Eda Oniyo delegates on the matter on Thursday, May 16, 2024, directed the Technical Committee on Boundary Dispute to go to the realm to establish the veracity of the claims of the city concerning the possession of the land underneath competition.

Afuye, who mentioned the Kwara State authorities had been contacted on the matter, mentioned, “We promised that this matter will be resolved officially with the Kwara State government… I have confidence that the Kwara State governor won’t be happy about the sordid turn of events between the two formerly friendly communities. How can we be killing ourselves over land?”

Also, the individuals of Obbo Aiyegunle confirmed peace strikes earlier than Saturday’s incident, as Ogun mentioned, “There are already strikes in the direction of peace. Eda individuals had been to Ilorin, the place their individuals being detained by the police had been launched to them amid a handshake.

“Obbo’s delegation also followed Eda’s representatives to Ado Ekiti, where Obbo people being detained by the police were also released to their people under a convivial atmosphere,” he mentioned.

Ogun mentioned Kwara and Ekiti state governments had intervened a number of instances and later developed a Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the 2 communities to collectively reside in concord on the farms.

The OADU president, whereas making a case for a long-lasting decision of the boundary subject, mentioned, “It is high time the governments of both states met to resolve this crisis once and for all.”



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