Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, Yesterday narrowly escaped death when youths and elders of the Jukun community at Abinsi in Guma Local Government Area blocked the busy Makurdi-Gboko high way.
Governor Suswam had gone to Anyiin, his hometown, in Logo Local Government Area of the state to attend the official flag off of a multi million naira church built by the first lady, Mrs Yemisi Suswam.
On his way back, he ran into the angry elders and youths who were burning tires on the road.
The incident, which occurred at about 6.15 pm, disrupted traffic for several hours before men of the police came to calm the situation.
But a community leader at Abinsi, Mr. Joseph Ataki, who spoke to newsmen returning with the governor at the time of the violence said, the road blockage was not an attempt to kill the governor but that it was only a protest.
Ataki said that, the Tor Tiv IV, HRH Akawe Torkula had appointed one Mr. Isa as the kindred head of the Jukun community and disclosed that the people of the area had no chief for about five years ago after their former traditional head, Capt. Clement Abayilo rtd died.
He said that the entire members of the community wanted one Dr. Emmanuel Sabo Ajido as their new chief but, according to him, the Tor Tiv deferred their desire and imposed the person he preferred. The situation, he noted, infuriated them and caused their protest.
He said: We blocked the road because the Tor Tiv imposed on us Mr. Isa as our new kindred head and we the people here want Dr. Emmanuel Sabo Ajido to be our leader and that is why we are here. But we are not using guns, we only blocked the road because since our former chief, Capt. Clement Abayilo died, five years ago, we’ve had no king.”
Reacting to the development, Governor Suswam said “when I was coming back from Anyiin, I was told that some people have blocked the road and burning tires. I asked my CSO to go ahead and he was reporting to us. I needed to know what the problem was and I got down from my vehicle and I was told that a chieftaincy dispute was the reason why they were doing so.
“They said that somebody was appointed as their new king and they did not necessarily agree with that decision. And I asked whether they have written to me on that. I did not receive any complaint or petition from them and so why would they take laws into their hands. I am not a party to the appointment, the authorities concerned appointed the person to watch over the community. If they are not happy, there are channels they should follow but they have blocked a major high way. That is totally unacceptable to me, Suswam said.