Worried by the invasion of the community by wild animals, the people of Ugboko N’ Iro village at Ugoniyekorhionmwon in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State have appealed to the Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Aklolokoolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, to assist in taming the animals.
The villagers, who described the invading wild animals as “mysterious”, listed the wild animals to include pythons, buffaloes and tigers.
They suspected that the mysterious animals had strayed from the polluted ‘Uhuende River’ in the locality, which they claimed was polluted by some non-indigenes of the community
The river, which serves as the source of water for Ugbo N’ Iro villagers and Igbaghon (shrine) worshippers, The villagers said was polluted by some migrants, who had traded off the Benin culture and tradition for personal benefits, adding that all entreaties to discourage the sacrilegious act fell on deaf ears.
The village head of Ugboko N’ Iro at Ugoniyekorhionmwon, Mr John Ogbewi, made the appeal on Wednesday when he led a peaceful protest by elders and women of the village to the Palace of the Oba of Benin in Benin City, Edo State Capital.
Ogbewi alleged that their travails began after Mr Ikpeba, one of the children of a deceased man, simply named Okporu, reportedly carved out a camp from Ugboko N’ Iro, in connivance with the traditional ruler from the neighbouring village, Enogie (Duke) of Ugo, Edugie Ogieriakhi, and ceded a portion of their land to the Mr Ikpeba, who allegedly set up palm oil mill, and converted part of the river to a burrow pit for excavation of mineral resources including sands by economic merchants.
“We are worried over the strange and unpleasant things that are now happening over the decision of the Enogie. Sometimes, pythons, Buffaloes or tigers stray into the village because of the abominable act caused as a result of pollution of the ‘Uhuende river’, which forbids palm oil.
“It is also forbidden to take the sand from the river. Little babies are not allowed to come close to the river too. The water is no longer safe to drink”, Ogbewi lamented.
He also solicited the intervention of the Oba to mediate over the conflict and restore peace as well as return their ancestral land to the Ugboko N’ Iro people.
Reacting to the development, the Enogie (Duke) of Ugo, Edugie Ogieriakhi, denied the allegations.
The Benin Palace chiefs led by Chief Stanley Obamwonyi, who received the protesters on behalf of the Oba of Benin, advised actors in the crisis to sheath their swords and thread with caution, assuring that the crisis would be resolved peacefully after wide consultation