By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,
The Association of Igede Media Professionals (AiMP) has called on Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom to prevail on the authorities not to withdraw the security personnel keeping the peace in Oju Local Government Area, following last weekend’s violent clash between Ibilla and Ukpa communities in the state, until normalcy is fully restored.
Describing the conflict as “reprehensible and barbaric”, the association observed that it is the presence of the soldiers and the police that has averted what would have become the mother of all communal clashes, noting, however, that tempers are still very high.
“The wanton and monumental destruction that took place in just few hours is an indication that if soldiers and police were not deployed to the area, the story would have been one nobody will be willing to tell.
“It is for that reason that we urge Governor Samuel Ortom who is the Chief Security Officer of Benue State to ensure that security personnel are not prematurely withdrawn until peace and normalcy fully returned to the affected communities in particular and the local government in general. Despite the relative peace imposed by the security presence, we have observed that tempers are still very high. Anger is raging.” the association noted.
Recall that Ibilla and Ukpa clans in Oju LGA of Benue State had engaged in a violent clash last week leading to looting and destruction of properties worth hundreds of millions of naira in Oju metropolis.
In a statement released by AIMP President, Egena Ode, the media professionals expressed disappointment with Ibilla and Ukpa communities over the arson that characterized their clash, saying they were miffed by the fact that Igede people that are being looked up to in the state as peace loving people with high moral values could descend to the level of bestiality exhibited last week by taking pleasure in destroying one another’s property and causing threat to lives.
It therefore called on the governor to also, without delay, set up a commission of inquiry to look into the incident.
“What happened between Ibilla and Ukpa communities in Oju LGA last weekend, to say the least, was reprehensible, barbaric and condemnable.
“Communities or, in this case, neighbours can disagree but to take it to the extent of burning and looting choice property and shops, thereby depriving victims of shelter and means of livelihood should not be condoned in any sane society in this 21st Century.
“Such backwardness belongs to the Stone Age and can only be perpetrated by people whose abode should be the zoo.
“This regrettable setback to the economic and social life of Igede should not be overlooked. As a people who have been denied social amenities and basic Infrastructure by successive administrations at both the state and federal levels, our destiny is in our hands. So we should not spare any persons or groups that will put our collective destiny in jeopardy.
“We, therefore, call on the governor to, without delay, establish a commission of inquiry to probe the unfortunate and shameful incident and bring to book the perpetrators of this dastardly act and their sponsors. We should not stop at calling the warring communities to make peace, but to ensure that adequate punishment is meted out to the unruly elements that took Igede people for granted,” the association submitted.