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One shot dead as Ughelli festival turns bloody

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By Philo Ezewu, Ughelli

The popular annual Omalokun Festival, in Ughelli, the headquarters of the Ughelli North local government area of Delta state, has turned bloody, leading to the death of one person with two others severely injured.

According to a source, fighting broke out between the youths of Otor-Iwhreko and Ekiugbo communities arising from age-long grievances over the ownership dispute on the Ughelli Market.

The source disclosed that the crisis started when youths from Otor-Iwhreko and Ekiugbo crossed each other’s paths while celebrating the Omalokun Festival. The source said it was not clear who started the fight. 

He disclosed further that the aggrieved youths took the corpse of the deceased, said to have hailed from Afiesere community, to the king’s palace where it was deposited.

The source lamented that the lingering communal crisis was getting escalated due to the fact that somebody from another community had been killed and appealed to the state government and the Ughelli North local government chairman to act fast before the situation got worse.

Confirming the incident, the president general of Ekiugbo community, Comrade Baker, told Orient Weekend that he was shocked to hear that a fight broke out during the Omalokun Festival.

He claimed that Otor-Iwhreko youths were the first to attack the youths of Ekiugbo who danced to the Ughelli Market during the festivity.

“What actually happened was that during the festival, they used to dance from one community to another. So, today, Ekiugbo youths danced with the women to Egor Junction towards the Ughelli Market. They themselves from Otor-Iwhreko also danced to Egor Junction. But before our youths turned to face Ekiugbo, the Otor-Iwhreko youths came and blocked the Egor Junction, stopping Ekiugbo youths from crossing. That was what sparked the crisis,” he said.

Baker blamed the Ughelli North local government chairman, Chief Godwin Adode, for not implementing the resolution reached four months ago, where it was concluded that a police post be built at the market to forestall such crisis.

He lamented that, apart from the person that died and the injured ones, properties worth millions of naira were also destroyed by the youths.

He appealed to the Ovie of Ughelli kingdom and the local government chairman to implement the resolution reached at the palace for peace to reign. 

The police public relations officer in the state, DSP Bright Edafe, confirmed the death of one and the situation generally, adding, however, that the police was on top of the situation to restore normalcy in the locality.The situation has been brought under control with the mounting of a police checkpoint at the Ughelli Market accompanied with police patrol of the area.

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