By Andy Chukwu
The sharing of N20 million oil largesse accruing to Uzere Community, Isoko South Council Area of Delta State has sharply divided the oil producing community with hundreds of residents fleeing the ensuring violence, which has already claimed more than two lives in the community.
The fund was alleged to have been released by the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), operators of the Oil Mining Lease, OML 28, for the construction of a youth acquisition centre.
However, some community leaders were alleged to have diverted the funds for personal uses. Some residents are accusing Felix Ewenede, the Community’s President General, of being at the arrow head of this embezzlement.
Also accused were Sam Ogri, Henry Etuwede and one Columbus were also fingered in the alleged embezzlement of the money.
These people were confronted by some members of community who demanded accountability of the money, but this led to a violent scene as some armed youths went out of control and started unleashing mayhem since last week.
The confrontation had degenerated into a major crisis by the weekend when security team comprising soldiers and mobile policemen were drafted in.
Some of the youths had confronted the security personnel in broad day light gun battle.
The crisis had led to some prominent members of the community, including the President General of apex Isoko social cultural organisation, Isoko Development Union (IDU), High Chief Iduh Amadhe, and many prominent indigenes fleeing the town.
One truckload of soldiers was stationed at Iduh’s place on Monday morning while over200 soldiers and policemen have been drafted to the community.
It was learnt that only a pocket of youths loyal to the factional leaders are still holding sway in their respective strongholds in the troubled community.
An indigene described the situation as a major crisis in the community.
“As we talk, army, navy and mobile police have taken over our community with these armed boys shooting day in, day out non-stop, destroying properties and looting homes in the night. Some of us slept in the waters until dawn because the community is in water because of the flooding. Everybody has run to other neighbouring communities because of the crisis,” he said.
Iduh Amadhe, who confirmed the crisis, said several persons including himself have fled the community which was thrown into crisis over the said oil largesse.
“The community’s president general is the major cause of the crisis because he wants to grab every kobo that comes into the community from multinational oil companies. You can’t withstand the shooting in that community by some armed youths chasing away perceived enemies and engaging security agencies in a gun duel,” he said.
“The recent N20-million largesse from the NDPC for skill acquisition for the youths that he diverted is the cause of this crisis that has rocked the entire community since Wednesday.
“Like some of us, we are still calling for peace and a combined team of security operatives have already moved into the community,” Amadhe said.
Meanwhile, police from the State police headquarters have arrested the community’s president General, Felix Ewenede, over the crisis.