By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Bizarre killings and its related activities have allegedly resumed in Okpanam Community in Delta state over illegal levies’ collection in lands at its development.
With no fewer than three persons alleged to have lost their lives to these land speculators in the last three weeks of fierce battle, it was gathered that land grabbers cum speculators in Okpanam Community are allegedly armed to the teeth as they parade all areas in the kingdom to survey lands already sold with ongoing developments, a situation they lay siege to ensure the owners are subjected to inhuman activities including payment of their stipulated levies.
Investigation revealed that the levies which range between N600,000 and N700,000 is often a must to be paid to these fraudsters who hide under the name’deve collection” to continue in their evil activities even at the face of ban and proposed Jail terms by the state government under the leadership of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa.
Though no official statement in the alleged killings, but the Delta state police command claimed in its statement signed by the Commissioner Adeleke Adeyinka that the police will deal rootlessly with those causing trouble in Okpanam Community, adding that anyone caught in the wake of the land tussle and communal crisis would be adequately prosecuted according to the laws.
Adeyinka who denied knowledge of the killings, said” we are not aware of any killings in Okpanam community but we are aware of land grabbers and communal crisis which we are taking care of already, even the deve collection has been banned by the state government but nobody is reporting to us officially for us to carry out arrest or investigation and ensure the people are detained and arriagn in court”
But the association of landlords and residents of Okotomi layout, Okpanam Community in Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state have petitioned Governor Ifeanyi Okowa over what they described as” audacious acts and conduct likely to cause breach of peace, attempted kidnapping, armed robbery and threat to commit arson against the residents of the layout by some persons.
In the petition written on behalf of the association by Larry Olisa Esq, Head of the chambers and signed LN Olisa Esq stated that the modus
Operandi of these persons through invasion of building sites belonging to their clients to demand for development levy against the Delta state Public and Private Properties Protection Law 2018.
The petitioner noted that the invasion of their clients’ vicinity by these individuals has been a rise in criminal activities such as robbery,hand bags’snatching, incursion into partially developed and undeveloped lands belonging to unsuspecting members of the public without consideration as to the original ownership of such landed properties.
The petitioner further stated that sometime in November 2019, the same group of persons led by a native of Imo state invaded the Okotomi layout with gun wielding thugs disguising as policemen and forcefully demarcated allocated lands belonging to bonafide residents of their clients, adding that they were taken to an undisclosed location in the bush where they were robbed at gunpoint of N100,000 after being tortured.
The petitioner therefore appealed to the state Governor Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to come to their aid by ensuring that harrassment of the law abiding Deltans is discontinued by these fraudsters who masquerade as illegal levies’ collectors.
Further investigation revealed that the three victims were allegedly shot dead in the bush where they had gone to check their landed properties after they subjected to inhuman tortured for their failure to pay for development in the bush.
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