Peace is returning to Umutu town in Ukwuani Local Government of Delta State as Igili Professional Elite Club (IPEC) has intervened to douse tension.
IPEC intervened in the crisis between the palace chiefs; traditional council; and James Uduogwu-led youth body.
The club’s President, Chief Chris Otunyo, in a telephone interview, said top community leaders in government have tried to broker peace among the warring units – Okpala-Uku; Onotu-Uku and Ide.
He added that IPEC would settle the aggrieved parties, including Umutu Youth Association, and the Okpala-Uku in-Council.
Otunyo noted that IPEC, as critical stakeholders respected by all, could bring peace to the crisis.
He praised the state and local government for their efforts at restoring peace, saying the ‘Tilije Peace Committee’ had finally set the stage for that.
The president added that IPEC would take over from where the committee stopped.
Commissioner for Finance Fidelis Tilije, on Sunday, led a government delegation to the community to reunite the Onotu-Uku (prime minister); Okpala-Uku (traditional leader) and the Ide (second to Okpala-Uku).
Parties were aggrieved following the suspension of the Onotu-Uku.
During an event at the Onotu-Uku palace, Chief Tilije, said his peace committee had the mandate to settle the rift between the Okpala-Uku and Onotu-Uku.
Tilije was accompanied by Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Chris Ochor; Vice Chairman of Ukwani Local Government Combat Asangwor; Gen. Mike Ndubisi (rtd); and others,
Umutu erupted in crisis when the youth body, acting on reports from a fact-finding Committee set up by the community, alleged the Oil and Gas Management Committee (OGMC) mismanaged proceeds from the oil exploration company.
OGMC represents Umutu’s interest, and liaises with Platform Petroleum Limited (PPL), which handles oil and gas exploration in the community.
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The club said OGMC members were accused of allegedly enriching themselves at the detriment of the community.
A crisis of confidence, suspensions and counter-suspensions followed until IPEC had to step in.
Chief Otunyo noted that IPEC, in conjunction with Umutu Development Union, (UDU), would, after the COVID-19-induced interstate restrictions, bring feuding parties, including the youth body, and the Inotus to the table.
But he noted that those found culpable would be punished according to the norms and traditions of Umutu.
“Members of OGMC were accused of corruptly enriching themselves at the detriment of the community. They suddenly turned contractors …and while our youths are idle and roaming the streets …they engaged non-indigenes of Umutu in the execution of contracts awarded them by PPL; they smiled to the banks while youths moan in hunger.
“…the club has decided to reconcile all parties…while those found wanting will face the consequences of their actions because it is time for us to usher in massive growth; human and material developments … We won’t allow… self-seeking individuals plunge Umutu into unending crisis while they, like demagogues, reap from it… The government has done its best… and the rest shall be accomplished by the Central Working Committee of Umutu Development union (UDU), whose members are also from the club,” Otunyo said.