18th October, 2018
The Ebonyi Government has urged Ekwashi and Ukwuagba Ngbo Autonomous communities of Ohaukwu LGA in the state to stay calm as government was working to resolve the attack on them on Tuesday.
The state governor, Chief Dave Umahi made the call in Ngbo on Wednesday when he visited the communities attacked by Agila, a bordering community in Benue.
Umahi, represented by his deputy, Mr Eric Igwe, led a team of security agencies including the Police, military, the Department of State Services and stakeholders on Border Peace and Conflict Resolution and media.
He confirmed that five persons were killed while some farmlands were destroyed by the Benue community over a land dispute.
Umahi frowned at the level of destruction noting that in spite of efforts by Ebonyi Government to resolve the crisis, the Agila people went on to attack its neighboring communities.
He said that more measures would be taken to strengthen the agreement between the two states while he called on Federal government for quick intervention on the warring communities.
He appreciated the Ngbo community on their adherence for not giving room for reprisal.
The governor said that local vigilance groups would be empowered to assist and accompany farmers whose farmlands are located at the dispute areas.
He charged traditional rulers, coordinators, chairmen and other stakeholders from the areas to devise means to also enable farmers visit their farms.
“I warn that no farmer should go to their farms alone without being accompanied by the local vigilance group.
“Enough is enough. We will meet to take more measures because two wrongs cannot make a right but we will ensure lives are saved,” he said.
The Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Mr Clement Odah, who expressed dismay over the attack, said that the five persons killed include three females and two males whose bodies were recovered from the farm land.
Odah said some persons were hospitalized while means of livelihood and farm lands were destroyed.
He said that the frequency of the attack was becoming unbearable, in spite of all efforts made by the state government including a recent meeting held by the two states with a communique issued but the Agila reneged and attacked Ngbo people.
“We need an end to this interstate crisis. Those killed, injured were in their farms to harvest before the attack,” Odah said.
A regent of Ukwuagba Community, Mr Emmanuel Igboke, while narrating his ordeal, said that the circumstances were due to land issues.
Igboke disclosed that the land dispute had been in existence immediately after the Nigerian Civil War.
“The Agila people attacked them during harvest period. This issue has consumed lots of souls.
“They cut off the women’s breast, arms, and legs of the men. You need to see the inhuman act,” the regent cried.
He pleaded that the land be demarcated to avoid further attacks adding that an access road be constructed for them.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Musa Kimo while condoling with the victims’ families and communities demanded their cooperation to the police.
“We assure you that the crisis would be resolved but we appeal that your partnership will be needed,” he said.
Bodies of a female and a male victims were shown to the team.