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Youths of two Ughelli communities wage war over revenue collection




By Balogun Mabamije / Apumami Erhuvwu



There was pandemonium yesterday at the Ughelli main market in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, when youths from Ekiugbo and Oto-Ighrekol communities engaged themselves in a gun battle over revenue collection at the main market.

In the past years, there has been an unresolved long-standing battle between the two communities over which community collects the revenues in the market.

Giving details on the incidence, an eye witness, one of the market women, who did not disclose her name, said that the crisis started at about eleven in the morning, when Ekiugbo boys armed with guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons came to attack the Otor-Iwhreko boys who were there to collect revenue from the market women.

According to the eyewitness, unknowingly to the Ekiugbo boys, the Otor-Iwhreko boys were at alert and fully prepared for battle and when the Otor-Iwhreko boys saw the Ekiugbo boys advancing towards them with guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons, they immediately engaged them in a gun battle which led to sporadic shootings from both sides.

“The fight start around eleven for morning when Otor-Iwhreko boys come collect money from us, naim Ekiugbo boys com come attack them. Dem carry guns, cutlass, sticks, many tins. Naim Otor-Iwhreko boys bring out their guns, naim dem begin dey shoot each other, naim everywhere scatter. Some people succeed pack their load but many people run leave their things for their dear lives first,” She narrated in Pidgin.

Reports say some of the market women were able to pack their goods in a hurry while others could not but ran away leaving their goods and wears at the mercy of thugs and hoodlums who were later seen carting away with assorted goods.

Meanwhile, motorists and commercial motor cyclists, as well as people who had come earlier to purchase items in the market, were seen running helter-skelter for safety.

The gun battle which continued for a long time disrupted business activities in the market and surroundings until the arrival of the police which forced the hoodlums took to their heels.

Some persons were reportedly injured and rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

However, normal business activities could not continue as many people were afraid that the boys may regroup to return.

Some police vans with fully armed officers were later seen at strategic locations around the market area.

The market women appealed to the state and local government, as well as relevant authorities to intervene in what they described as ‘long-standing contention between the rival communities over revenue collection’ which in time past had led to bloody communal war in Ughelli Kingdom, wherein the market women have always been at the receiving end.

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