Iyano Community Crisis: Victims Decry Inability To Return Home, Bury Their Dead

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Witnesses at the ongoing public hearing on inquiry into Iyano community crisis in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, have called on the state government to do something about the people of Aluaja, whose kinsmen’s bodies were lying in the mortuary because they had no place to bury them.

They also prayed the panel to do the needful and ensure a quick resolution to the crisis, so they could return to their home for the next farming season, having lost two seasons already to the crisis.
Governor Yahaya Bello had inaugurated a 13-man panel of inquiry into the Iyano community crisis, with a mandate to draw recommendations for a lasting solution to the disputes.
It would be recalled that Aluaja clan settlement was razed by arsonists on May 24 last year, which rendered homeless victims of a 50-year land tussle, including fight over fishpond and kinship.
Speaking at the public hearing, a former councillor in Ibaji Local Government, Lucky Apeh, said no fewer than five dead bodies were still in the mortuary for want of place to bury them, lamenting that the bodies could not also be buried outside their homestead.
He said: “The bodies of paramount rulers, the Okpale Iyeni, Ochawo Acholo and Enemene Ijoba are currently being preserved in a mortuary in Idah. And by tradition, they cannot be buried outside the community.
“We have equally buried eight other members of our communities in borrowed lands, where they have been taking refuge.”
Another witness, Geoffrey Egwemi, asked the government to help protect his life from those that massacred his father and brother over the crises in April last year.
Egwemi alleged that the arsonists that razed the community, killed his father, Paul Egwemi, and his brother, Raymond, after their father testified in the court on the matter. Egwemi, who pleaded for protection, said the same persons that killed his father and brother were after his life.

Credits: Boluwaji Obahopo | Vanguard

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