To find lasting solution to the perennial Ogbe-Ijoh/Aladja Communal clashes, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on 25-05-16, set up a high powered Panel of Inquiry with Professor Abednego Ekoko as Chairman.
Other members are Mr. F.O. Osiawa, Surveyor General, Mr. J.N Ogabu, Asst. Surveyor-General, Barrister Ernest Edomwonyi, Legal Counsel/ Secretary, Chief Engr. Paulson Okobiebi and Elder Stephenson Lerhovwre [Aladja Community Representatives] and Hon. Denbofa Oweikpodor, Mr. Franklyn Igangan [ Ogbe-Ijaw Community Representatives].
Senator Okowa while inaugurating the Panel of Inquiry at Government House, Asaba, decried the effect of boundary crisis not only on peace and security of the communities and the state but also on development, investments and the state’s economy.
“This administration is always committed to the pursuit of peace and security in all communities, boundary crisis has continue to create hate among ourselves and our youths who are now trained to see each other as enemies, we need to do the right thing which is to settle for peace, so as to allow development to take place”, he said.
“Boundary crisis is inimical to orderly development and also creates image problems for the State. Such acts contribute to frustration and disenchantment experienced by members of the society. Economically, it can scare away potential investors and the relocation of existing industries in our communities to other States, thereby creating avoidable economic challenges for our State.”, he added.
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to ensuring peace and security in all communities in the state and urged them “to explore all available means of dialogue to settle their differences.”
Governor Okowa who charged the Panel of Inquiry to handle their responsibility with fairness, due diligence, transparency and impartiality reminded them that “ we have had two Panels of Inquiry in the past, the Justice Azinge’s Judiciary Commission in 1996 and Justice Frank Nwolu’s Panel Of Inquiry in 2009, both proffered solutions but unfortunately the crisis continued over time”
He listed the Panel’s Terms of Reference as to define, demarcate and survey the boundary between Udu and Warri South West local government areas; survey and demarcate the extent of the land in dispute between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijaw communities; and recommend actions to be taken by Delta State Government to finally resolve the Aladja and Ogbe-Ijaw crisis and sustain mutual inter-communal relations.
Responding on behalf of the Panel, the Chairman, Prof. Ekoko assured Governor Okowa that they would carry out their assignment diligently and proffer lasting solutions to the boundary dispute.