Residents of Ilaje Communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State were reportedly fleeing their residences following the alleged killing of an Ijaw man identified as Bekewei Alonge who is from Akpata Community in Ese Odo Local Government Area of the state.
The 35-year-old deceased was said to have been initially missing before he was later found to have been allegedly murdered in Ilaje area.
A source said the death of the deceased led the residents to flee their communities for the fear of repraisal attack from the kinsmen of the deceased.
To this end, the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Richard Olatunde, condemned the act, saying security operatives had been deployed in the area to forestall break down of law and order .
He also said investigation had commenced into the incident, urging the fleeing residents to return to their communities.
The statement read, “It has come to the knowledge of the Ondo State Government that women and children are leaving some riverine Ilaje communities in droves owing to certain unfounded rumours about an imminent attack from Ijaw youths to avenge the alleged murder of one of their kinsmen from Akpata in Ese-Odo local government.
“The government condemns in very strong terms, every criminal act that leads to the killing of anyone.
“It is in this regard that security agencies have been directed to get to the root of this alleged crime. Investigations are already on in respect of this development.
“The government, therefore, urges fleeing indigenes and residents, if any, to return to their normal places of abode and continue with their lawful businesses without fear. The governor prays all communities, including those perceived to have been hurt, to refrain from any act in the direction of self-help. Such shall not be tolerated in any manner.
“Government, accordingly, appeals to all persons of goodwill, particularly traditional rulers as well as religious leaders of the affected areas, to rein in their subjects to avoid unnecessary conflict in the relatively peaceful riverine areas of the state.
“Nonetheless, government is not oblivious of the fact that certain persons, especially politicians, are striving hard to heighten the tension with a view to deriving imaginary political advantages. This is not just condemnable. It is criminal and wicked that such acts targeted to deepen disharmony and distrust are being oiled for political gains.”
The governor also enjoined all the people of both Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas “to be vigilant so as not to be misled by persons who do not mean well for them.”