By Abiodun Taiwo
Ogun State government, on Friday, urged its Ondo State counterpart to caution its citizens encroaching on Ogun territory and launching attacks on Ogun indigenes in the communities bordering the two states.
The State Deputy Governor, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, who doubles as the Chairman, Ogun State Boundary Committe, made this appeal in a statement issued in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to her, the encroachment on Ogun communities comes with assaults on Ogun citizens, most especially residents of Irokun kingdom, and the culprits were allegedly from the Ilaje end of Ondo State.
She also condemned the imposition of Princess Adeyinka Abejoye Ogunyemi, as purported regent in the town in strong terms, described it as illegal and an act of impersonation.
“Irokun, a kingdom in Ogun State has its own traditional ruler, the Onirokun of Irokun, a member of our Ijebu Traditional Council. The current Onirokun, HRH, Oba Buari Olayinka Balogun, is the 8th Onirokun and has been on the throne since October, 2007. Irokun is very pivotal to Ogun State and the state government will not fold its hands and allow criminals to overrun it”, the Deputy Governor asserted.
Salako-Oyedele said she had discussed extensively with her counterpart in Ondo over the crisis and resolved that status quo should remain and also wrote to the National Boundary Commission asking it to identify and demarcate the areas in contention, based on historical facts and data in order to lay the crisis to rest.
She continued: “On no occasion will Ogun State government cede an inch of its land to Ondo State because of the activities of criminals who have been terrorizing Ogun indigenes on their land, seeking to cause disaffection and instigate crisis between the two neighbouring states that share deep ethnic and historical links and whose governments have always collaborated to address issues of common concern.
“Obviously, the deliberate attempt by these lawless individuals to stoke crisis will fail.
“The state government is working on making life better for people in the area by providing more classrooms in schools, boreholes, primary health care centres and also proving safety net. Aside that, the government is also looking at new investments in the area, because it is rich in mineral resources like bitumen, gas and oil. Government will provide basic infrastructure that will drive development in the area.
“Also, we strongly condemn the imposition of a regent in the riverine community by the Ondo StateGovernment, as we classify such action as illegal and the individual parading himself as regent as nothing but an impostor.
“The legitimate traditional ruler in that town remains Oba Buari Olayinka Balogun, as backed by instrumentality of government and in line with the gazette of the Ogun State Government, through the Ministry of Local Government & Chieftancy Affairs”.
The Deputy Governor, then assured residents of the area of adequate security, adding that the boundary issue between the two states would be sorted out.
She urged residents of the area to remain law-abiding while the government performs its constitutional responsibility of protecting them.
It would be recalled that in September last year, the Ogun State Government resisted plans by the Ondo State government to install traditional rulers in the Ogun communities of Irokun, Obinehin, Idigbengben and Araromi seaside.
A statement issued by the then Ogun State government, said that contrary to the position of the Ondo State government, the affected communities fall within Ogun Waterside LG.
The statement called on the National Boundary Commission to take note and act accordingly in line with extant laws and relevant documents, saying that official legal documents dating back to the colonial era and re-affirmed by relevant agencies of the Federal Government are attesting to the claim.
The Ogun State Government further assured the people of the affected communities that the state government had commenced high-level discussions to prevent a breakdown of law and order.