The prolonged border conflict between the People of Agila in Ado Local Government of Benue State and that of Ohaukwu in Ebonyi State has taken a worrisome dimension following incessant attacks and killings in the warring communities.
On Monday, January 9, 2020, at about 7:30 pm six persons returning from Otukpo, the traditional headquarters of the Idomas were accosted, killed and beheaded by gunmen highly suspected to be militia from Ohaukwu.
The sad incident, which occurred close to St. Peter’s Catholic Church Agila has left the people in tears and fears.
A distress call made by the Parish Priest, Rev Fr Emmanuel Onoja, decried the terror, sorrow, and confusion that has seized the area.
The spillover effects of the attack have been massive evacuation of persons from the neighbouring villages of Ijigban, Ulayi, and Ekile which are also border communities with Ebonyi State for fear of being murdered. Houses and properties were equally destroyed in the attack.
The victims who were said to be returning from Otukpo in a vehicle were attacked at a portion of the road between Apa- Agila and Akpoge Ogbilolo close to the church and murdered/beheaded.
Those killed are Omerigwe Ogbu, Noah Akpoge, Orinya Adai and Otokpa Egwa. Others are Onoja Adams and Aboh Ogebe.
Reacting to this sad development, immediate past Caretaker Chairman of Ado Local Government, Hon. James Ogaba Oche, called on the Federal Government to hurry the boundary demarcation process as the series of attack on his people were aimed at frustrating the exercise. He said the process when completed, will put an end to the lingering threat to the lives of Adolites.
James Oche, while commiserating with the bereaved also enjoined them to be vigilant of their safety and report suspicious events promptly to security agencies.
As a prescription to also put the issue to rest beyond demarcation, Mr Oche has urged the government to create a Trunk A road within the axis, site a military barracks and as well rehabilitate the lives of the people who have been displaced.
As at Press time, no comment has been received from relevant security agencies concerning this issue but information from sources within the belligerent communities on either side of the boundary have relayed the information that the lingering crisis is far from over and that tension is so high that all it needs is a little fuse to light the area on fire.
According to them, the Federal government is the only arm of government that can prevent this by immediately taking drastic steps to speed up the delimitation exercise and taking of serious security steps within the area.
Meanwhile, Ebonyi State governor, Chief David Umahi, has directed the Nigeria Police, Army and other security agencies in the state to shoot at sight anyone who tries to kill any Ebonyian within and outside Ebonyi communities.
Umahi made this known while addressing the state security chiefs, the Police, Army, DSS, Immigration, Prisons, Civil Defence, FRSC and Chairmen of LGA’s during an enlarged security meeting at the government house Abakaliki.