By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) Worldwide has said that they find it ridiculous, insulting, offensive, unacceptable, unimaginable and disgusting that the strangers they took in and accommodated as part of them, and as fellow Nigerians, should turn around to become their tormentors and killers. “God forbid. We will no longer condone this.”
UPU stressed that for too long, they have chosen the path of peace which, unfortunately, has become the greatest undoing, stressing that the enemies they took in as friends, have taken them for cowards
The body therefore, warned that her people might be forced to defend themselves if the killings and invasion of communities in Uwheru Kingdom do not immediately stop forthwith.
The apex socio-cultural umbrella body of the Urhobo people worldwide, stated clearly in a statement that the Urhobo’s might defend themselves and their lands if the unprovoked harassment and killings of their people is not halted forthwith.
The UPU called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to urgently order a stop to what it described as ‘genocide killings’ of indigenes of Uwheru Kingdom in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State by suspected Fulani herdsmen operating in the area.
The body stressed that suspected Fulani herdsmen dressed in military uniform had reportedly killed no fewer than eight persons in repeated attacks on Agadama, Owarovwo, Ophororo, Ohoror and other communities of Uwheru Kingdom between Thursday and Friday nights last week. And the killings had since led to tension in the area.
UPU said this In a statement signed by the Urhobo Progress Union Worldwide Publicity Secretary, Hon. Abel Oshevire, and condemned the recent killings, stressing that no amount of intimidation would let Urhobo people to vacate their land for any stranger living in their land.
A statement made available to NEWSMEN also stressed that any further attack on any of their land, the Urhobo people will mobilize to defend their people.
According to the statement, “We are particularly worried at the allegations that on Saturday, the 15th of February, 2019, men in Military uniforms, allegedly on the side of the herdsmen, were deeply involved in this recent saga and shot sporadically at harmless citizens of Agadama-Uwheru, leaving some of them dead or gravely injured.
“The UPU urges the Federal and Military Authorities to investigate this allegation, with a view to bringing the security agents and herdsmen involved in this dastardly activity to book.
“As we also speak, a whole community in Uwheru, Avwon, has been taken over by these herdsmen, while all indigenes have fled the place for their lives. A lot of the people have become refugees in other places, families have been displaced and many who escaped the killings through the bush remain missing and unaccounted for.
“Other Uwheru communities like Oreba, Owarovwo, Ophororo, Ohoro, Urede among others that constantly face attacks, or are threatened, by these herdsmen, who openly boast that they will take over these communities unchallenged, have since been witnessing mass exodus of people due to the ferocity and daring at which these vampire herdsmen perpetrate their gruesome activities.
“These herdsmen are known to even demand for levies and protection money from our people in Uwheru, who are pursuing their legitimate livelihood of fishing and farming on their ancestral lands. Those who resist these demands have been known to be attacked, raped, maimed or killed by the wicked herdsmen.
UPU stressed that the fact Urhobo people decided to toe the path of peace in the interest of national unity in the country, such peace path was being taken for granted by Fulani herdsmen operating in the area.
“Reports of the renewed attacks and killings by herdsmen on Agadama Town and other villages in Uwheru Kingdom of Ughellli North Local Government Area, Delta State, where over eight persons were brutally murdered (two of the victims were burnt alive) and many displaced from their ancestral lands have reached the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) Worldwide and we, again, call on the President and Commander- in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to stop this genocidal killings of our people in Uwheru Kingdom.
“We find it ridiculous, insulting, offensive, unacceptable, unimaginable and disgusting that strangers we took in and accommodated as part of us, and as fellow Nigerians, should turn around to become our tormentors and killers? God forbid. We will no longer condone this.
“For too long, we have chosen the path of peace which, unfortunately, has become our greatest undoing. The enemies we took in as friends, have taken us for cowards.
“Let it be made categorically clear that the Urhobo Nation cannot be conquered. We are a people with a history of independence. In the prevailing circumstances, we might be forced to defend ourselves and our lands if this unprovoked harassment and killings of our people is not halted forthwith.
“The Urhobo people are peace-loving, whether at home or wherever they dwell. Therefore, we will no longer tolerate the nuisance of any unfriendly and troublesome stranger in our midst.
“We want to plead with those who own or are supporting these rampaging herdsmen to call them to order. We are saying unequivocally that the Urhobo Nation will never, ever surrender or cede an inch of her territory to any stranger, no matter the situation. The strangers in our land remain strangers and they must respect and obey the laws of the land. We shall no more condone these acts of unprovoked attacks on our people.
“We want to warn trouble makers in our land to toe the line of peace and be reminded that our people have the capacity to defend themselves against any invaders. We shall not be cowed or intimidated by any group of strangers in our own land”, the statement added
UPU is one of the oldest ethnic nationality groups in Nigeria.