The people and leadership of the Edjemuonyavwe community, Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State have cried out over the alleged lynching of one Onoriode Okerhibo by armed thugs said to be working for the Chairman of the local government, Solomon Golley, as well as unlawful use of fire arms, threat to lives and unlawful restraint of the people by the chairman and his armed thugs.
While accusing Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, the state government and the state police command of shielding the council chairman who is said to be on the run, the community expressed concerns about the safety of their lives and the seeming lack of interest by the police to investigate the matter.
SaharaReporters learnt that the current crisis in the area is coming amidst severe threats by Golley for members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to publicly renounce their party membership and join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Abuja, titled ‘Unlawful Killing, Unlawful Use of Fire Arms, Threat to Lives and Unlawful Restraint of the People of Edjemuonyavwe Community by One Solomon Golley and Armed Thugs’, by Anthony Ejumejowo of Ejumejowo Chambers, Abuja, on behalf of Hope Abijor and the community, obtained by SaharaReporters, called for the immediate intervention of the police boss and transfer of the case to the force headquarters.
The community's counsel said sometime in April 2016, the community town civic centre was locked by thugs acting on the instructions of Golley, and it has since remained so without any justification.
The petition read: "The enquiries of our client from the Secretariat of the Ethiope West local government revealed that the locking of our client’s town hall and civic centre shall remain locked unless and until such a time that every one of our client that is a member of the APC publicly renounces their membership of their party and joins the People Democratic Party under the instructions of the said Solomon Golley who claimed that the entire Oghara Community is a PDP town and no one will under his leadership cause any opposition to the PDP.
"Our client’s community has been subjected to several illegal actions by the said Hon. Solomon Golley and the armed thugs that goes everywhere with him including the lynching to death of one Onoriode Okerhibo in broad daylight on the instructions of the said Solomon Golley in front of his residence sometime in 2017.
"The said Solomon Golley has sent his armed thugs including one Kenneth Ibiri the immediate past Youth chairman of our client’s community to cause problem in our client’s community and purportedly swearing in of the said former Youth chairman for another tenure after the expiration of his tenure for what they claim is the decision of leadership of the People Democratic Party against the wishes and the constitution of our client’s community.
"The said Solomon Golley has threatened to kill anybody among our client or anyone from our client’s community who opposes his policies and actions in the same manner that the said Onoriode Okerhibo was killed. Golley constantly boasts to have the influence and backing of the Delta State government to do whatever he likes in the interest of the PDP and several youths are being recruited with the intention of using these youths to cause mayhem and intimidate members of other political parties in the 2019 general elections.
"These youths who are being imposed as youth leaders are being armed with guns and other dangerous weapons. Following our petition dated 6th June, 2018 and the referral of same to the Commissioner of Police, Delta State command, the Delta command did not take any action except an interview of the parties on the 9th August, 2018 in which they regarded the unlawful killing as a mere mob action.
"The killing of the Okerhibo Onoriode was caught on video by the thugs of the said Solomon Golley and that the video which is being circulated by them is being used to intimidate the people of our client’s community and our client. Since the referral of the investigation of the matter to the Delta State Command, the said Solomon Golley has been issuing threats and making false publications on the social media and inciting violence in our client’s community.
"Our client no longer has any confidence in Delta State Police Command to properly investigate this matter and that this matter if not properly investigated and handled, it may degenerate into a major communal crisis. Please find attached to this letter a photocopy of our previous letters and a video coverage of killing of the said Okeriho Onoriode.
"It is our brief that our client has been invited to the Delta State Police Command to make statements on two occasions, since the directives of your office and was informed by policemen from the state police command that the said Solomon Golley has been formally invited by the Command but has refused to honour the said invitation.
"It is further of brief that the said Solomon Golley has resorted to threatening our client and other persons that made statements to the police in an attempt to interfere with the investigation of the matter while boasting that the government of Delta State has intervened in the investigation of the matter at the state police Command.”
The petitioners, therefore, appeal to the Inspector General of Police to transfer and investigate the matter in the interest of safety of lives and order, and to take appropriate action to bring all those involved to book if found wanting.
It was gathered that the council chairman, through the state government, using the state Ministry of Justice, has however filed a fundamental human rights action at the Delta State High Court to prevent his arrest by the IG, even as the state government is said to be protecting the council chairman who is allegedly on the run,
Contacted to further explain the issue, Andrew Aniamaka, Public Relations Officer of the Police in the state, rebuffed all the calls put to his mobile line and efforts to speak with the council chairman were not successful.