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Community threatens fish farmers over controversial levy in Delta



The management of Success Fish Farmers’ multi-purpose cooperative society in Jeddo has appealed to the Delta State Government and the Okpe Local Government Council to intervene in the present issues confronting the fish and poultry farm owners in Jeddo community over the controversial levy imposed by the community.

Speaking on behalf of Success Fish Farmers Association, Jeddo, the Chairman, Mrs Onos Otomewo, stated that she got a letter from the community asking each occupant of pond to pay the sum of N20.000 (twenty thousand naira) but said she refused to distribute the letter to the farmers because according to her, she felt it was illegal to demand for any amount of money from the farmers.

According to her, after some weeks the community leaders came with the community vigilante’s and the youths and chased away every farmer that was around.

She said that the issue was reported to a lawyer and the red beret security in Jeddo about the harassment they got from the community youths in case there was any casualty.

Mrs Otomewo said that they even went as far as going to the Orodje of Okpe to lay complaints but they were directed back to meet with the chief representing Jeddo community at the palace.

She said that they met the chief who admitted he was aware of the money the community was collecting and advised the farm owners to dialogue with the community leaders headed by comrade Solomon Bayagbon and state how much they can pay as revenue to the community yearly.

“A letter of appeal dated 27th February 2019 was written to the community leaders soliciting and appealing to them to carefully consider Success Fish Farmers Cooperative as a group of subsistence farmers trying to make a living amidst scarce resources with a small strength of membership capacity,” she said.

They stated in the appeal letter to pay the sum of 30.000 (thirty thousand naira) as a group and as part of their contribution to assist the Jeddo community development income generation drive agenda.

She stated further that when the letter was presented to the community chairman, he was furious and he threw the letter back at them saying that the community would not collect any money from them as a cooperative.

According to her “A copy of the letter was also given to Chief Onome Roberts, the chief representing Jeddo community in the palace but the chief did not consent with the amount of thirty thousand the fish farm cooperative which they said they will pay yearly, he advised them as a body to have a rethink and make additional money.”

The chairman stated further that since they got the demand notice letter, every Friday of the week they have always been chased out of the farm yard with guns, cutlasses and machetes by the community youths and vigilante’ group., saying she had advised all farm owners to stay clear from the farm yard whenever they get threats from the community.

The Chairman of Jeddo Community, Comrade Solomon Bayagbon, however stated that the money being demanded was constitutional as enshrined in the Jeddo constitution.

He said that according to laid down rules, some of the sources of revenue for development of Jeddo community usually come from building and development levy, market shops, filling stations, hotel and fish ponds, saying all of these businesses must pay dues and levies approved by the community/town and in a situation where any group or individual refused to pay, he shall be made to pay an additional 50 percent of such levies/contribution to the community/town.

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