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Two Feared Dead, Others Injured Over Leadership Tussle In Delta

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Koko community, Warri North local government Area of Delta State is presently embroiled in a battle over the rightful family to take over the mantle of leadership of the community, leading to the alleged death of two persons in Koko, following a bloody clash between two groups.

Though, further casualty figure could not be ascertained, community sources confirmed that several persons were injured while scores were missing in a leadership tussle between the out-going Executive of Koko Management Authority and a contesting group.

The group led by David Oniyeburutan and Yinka Atie allegedly attacked some members of the executive who had gone to the Police Divisional headquarters, Koko to effect the bail of some elders of the community Richmond Atsenuwa, a 94-year-old man arrested over an undisclosed issue.

According to investigation by HardReporters, the tussle for the community development leadership began in October 2016 following the expiration of the tenure of the former executive led by Jeremiah Atigan.

It was gathered that the multi-million naira secretariat belonging to the management authority was allegedly vandalized by yet-unidentified persons, though red fingers are pointing to the Oniyeburutan-led group.

Madam Janet Igho said, amidst the bloodbath, it was learnt that the group went ahead to inaugurate the members that were earlier turned down for being one-sided.

Another respondent who simply identified himself as Omagbeni said, “It also shunned all peace efforts initiated by the community elders aimed at restoring sanity to the body.

Also, Mr Edward Eno, hinted that “a peaceful protest recently held by over 300 sympathizers of the out-going executive to call the angry group to order did not also achieve the desired results.

According to Eno, the protesters action was particularly prompted by the failure of the contesting group led by Oniyeburutan to adhere to a court order which restrained them from parading themselves as newly constituted executive.

They also frowned against what they described as ‘illegal invasion and occupation of the multi-million naira secretariat of Koko management authority’ by the group despite the court order.

In his response, the contesting group led by Oniyeburutan described the protest as highly provocative, saying they took possession of the secretariat to avoid a vacuum since the tenure of the last executive had expired.

In a swift reaction, the secretary of the out-going executive comrade Solomon Mimi said it was illegal for the group to have forcefully taken possession of the secretariat when there is a court order restraining them.

Displaying a copy of the order, Comrade Mimi, said their action could ignite crisis in the community once known for its peaceful nature.

“We rejected their composition because it didn’t represent the interest of notable Itsekiri sons and daughters. We have our traditional ways of choosing members, they know it. The constitution is there to guide them. I know they are not ignorant to this”, he posited.

An insider said, there were strong indications that their action is a design to cover those that have fiddled with over N500, 000 from the coffers of Koko Management Authority, an issue that is already been investigated.

According to the source, “This is an issue that could have been resolved without going to the police force headquarters, Abuja and the court said comrade Solomon Mimi. Warri North Local government is one of the councils created in 1991 by former Military leader, General Ibrahim Babangida. It is located in Delta South Senatorial District with a population of over 500, 000 people predominately Itsekiri, Ijaws and Urhobos”.

Community sources confirmed that cash kept for disbursement to loan seekers and vital documents were tempered with.

The face-off was reportedly prompted by the inability of both groups to agree on a properly constituted new executive.

It learnt that leadership of koko management Authority is said to be a composition of notable families in the community which the out-going executives allegedly kicked against as it was described as one sided composition of new members presently for inauguration.

Those who sustained severe injuries as a result of the attack include the secretary to the outgoing executive Mr Solomon Mini, Oludewa Galasi, Ireabor Lucky and Orih Eweyeju.

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Andrew Aniamaka said no arrest had been made, “We wanted to go into investigation when the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area alerted us but we later found out that the matter is already before the office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Abuja. We can’t go into a matter that is already being handled by our superior body unless there is a directive to do so”, he added.