Our land is under siege, Benue community cries to Buhari, security agencies

By Yemi Itodo

The people of Ugboju community, Otukpo local government of Benue State, have cried to President Muhammadu Buhari led government, to as a matter of urgency, come to the rescue of the community which is currently under siege.

Some hoodlums had early hours of Thursday, reportedly invaded Ondo and Ogoli-Ugboju communities, killing over 10 persons and burning houses .

In the said attacks, which could be described as “premeditated”, a retired Major of the Nigerian Army and former Benue State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lawrence Ugbor, was reportedly locked up in the boot of his car and burnt to ashes.

At a joint press briefing in Abuja Thursday, by the National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria, Amb. (Dr.) Dickson Akoh, the Member representing Adoka/Ugboju state constituency at the Benue House of Assembly, Barr. Adams Okloho, the President General of Ugboju Country Club in Abuja, Mr. Gabriel Iduh and representatives of youths and women; the community decried the unabated killings in the area, calling on the government to urgently intervene.

Akoh, a holder of the traditional title of ‘Ogigo’mebe (the traditional mirror) of Ugboju land, specifically appealed to “the Federal Government, the National Assembly, the Benue State Government, the State House of Assembly and security agencies, to as a matter of urgency, come to the rescue of the two crisis-ridden communities”.

He said, “the people of Ondo and Ogobia are predominantly farmers, but this needless war, suspected to have been orchestrated by enemies of peace and allegedly sponsored by external forces, has rendered thousands homeless, and by extension affected their farming activities. This will greatly affect agricultural output from these two communities this year”.

The Peace Corps Boss alluded that over 50 persons had lost their lives, while thousands had been rendered homeless in the series of attacks that had lasted for 3 years in the two communities.

To help curb the menace, Akoh said he donated “a newly-constructed and well furnished police station, including an operational vehicle to the Ugboju community last year”.

Despite many efforts from him and other peace loving individuals from the communities, as well as the amensty program extended to bearers of illegal arms by Governor Samuel Ortom, Akoh said, the menace continued unabated.

“The perpetrators of these nefarious acts have refused to surrender arms; perhaps, they enjoy the backings of some blood-thirsty powerful individuals in the society”, Akoh added.

He said, “each time arrests were made in connection with this crisis, these powerful elements would promptly ensure that the suspects were released”.

Akoh specifically submitted that, the security agencies in Otukpo and Benue State appeared helpless in containing the situation, “because of the powerful forces backing the perpetrators of the crisis”.

While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, to set up a high-powered and independent panel of inquiry to bring the masterminds to book, Akoh also appealed to the affected individuals and their families to exercise restraint for the interest of peace.

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