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Bayelsa Headline Local Special Report

Uproar in Ekeremor over alleged detention of 10 in iron cage

The Otubo family in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State is demanding for justice after ten members of the family were subjected to inhuman treatment after being locked up in an iron cage allegedly by the Chairmen of the Toru-Ndoro and Bulou-Ndoro Community Development Committee, Mr. Abunty Etifa-Hitler and other members of the Committee.

In an interview with Radio Nigeria, the Otubo family alleged that the victims were detained and locked up in the iron cage at Toru Ndoro on October 19, exposed to the elements of the weather and denied food and water over a dispute on the ownership of Ogbotobo creeks and lands which is their maternal home.

Some weeks back, pictures emerged of how members of the Otubo family were locked up in an iron cage at the Toru-Ndoro Community cell for maintaining that the Alei-Toru/Kala-Toru/Krin creeks and environs belonged to their maternal home, Ogbotobo community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

According to their account, between 1960 and 1962, natives of Toru-Ndoro had migrated from Ndoro in Delta State to Ogbotobo and sought their consent before settling down in the area.

Sixty years after, for insisting that the creek and the environs belonged to Ogbotobo, ten members of the Otubo family whose names were given as Jacob Debekeme, Tamarau-brakaemi Hitler, Anotie ThankGod, Kemeagbe-ere ThankGod, Agbemo, Ebiema, Love, Emomotimi and Automatic were reportedly abducted from their houses and detained in the iron cage which had no roof, exposing them to rain and sun.

A member of the family, Mrs. Eunice Binaebi alleged that the Community Executives led by the CDC Chairman of Toru-Ndoro, Mr. Abunty Etifa-Hitler first ordered them to proceed on exile and having refused, were locked up in an iron cage, threatening that any native of the community who gave them food or water would pay a fine of N100, 000.

 Mrs. Binaebi said though the victims had been released from the cage, they were asked not to go anywhere near the Creek to fish or farm until they pay a fine of N200,000 or were forced into exile.

She said the family had notified the Commissioner of Police, Ben Okolo in respect of the incident and also previously wrote a petition for an earlier incident to the Commissioner for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affair, Thompson Amule.

The Commissioner had reportedly tried to settle the matter by inviting the CDC Chairmen of both communities to meetings with no headway achieved.

When contacted, CDC Chairman of Toru-Ndoro, Mr. Abunty Etifa-Hitler said it was a community issue.

He stated that the area in dispute was not Ogbotobo Creek but Alei-Toru Creek.

Mr. Etifa-Hitler denied that 10 members of the Otubo family were locked up in the iron cage with their rights violated under his supervision. He promised to call back, but he never did.

A spokesman for the Bayelsa Police Command, Asinim Butswat when contacted to confirm the development said he would get in touch with the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area for details.

Reports say the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the State, Iyama Daniel who is now handling the matter has invited the parties for a meeting in his office in the State capital this week.

Reporting by Alambo Datonye, Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu and Tina Oyinsan