From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi
Benue State Government has urged the people of Mbaivur and Mbasombo communities in Gwer East Local government Area, (LGA) of the state to eschew alleged plan to cause fresh crisis in their area but to allow peace reign.
Recall that both communities have been having communal clashes since 2020. The crisis which started over land has, over the years, escalated leading to deaths of innocent villagers and destruction of properties including a market, worth billions of naira.
Special Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Alia on Security and Strategic Liaison, Lt. Col Alex Igbaya Anshungu (Rtd) in company of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security and Internal Affairs, Chief Joseph Har, PSP, scheduled a meeting with both communities to speak to them on the need to maintain a peaceful environment.
After the meeting which held closed doors with stakeholders from Mbaivur and Mbasombo on Friday in Makurdi, Lt. Col. Anshungu told newsmen that the government had received intelligence that one of the communities was planning to launch attack on another on Saturday, at the burial of a man who was allegedly killed during the crisis about five months ago.
“We have received an intelligence report that there is likely to be some kind of outbreak of violence. That Mbasombo wants to bury one of their persons who lost his life in one of the crisis and they are assuming that somebody killed him and they are thinking that they will use some other means to bury the person like the traditional means they used to do in those days.
“But we have discovered that these are not actually cogent reasons and we are appealing to them to calm down and follow the law. Enough blood has been shed in this state and anybody who destroys life will face the music. We pray that there should be peace in the area, they should sheath their swords”.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security and Internal Affairs, Chief Joseph Har, PSP, said their decision to call stakeholders of the two communities together to make peace was not a show of weakness and warned against revenge at the burial.
He urged them to ensure that such a thing do no occurs saying “Let them go back and warn their wards. That intention should be aborted. There should be no attack in the area.”
Also speaking, Ter Gwer, HRH Chief Dominic Akpe, who commended Governor Hyacinth Alia for appointing two Security Advisers called on his subjects to rescind their plan to cause violence if they had actually intended to do such a thing because Government would not take it kindly with them.
“I want to say that the district head of Mbasombo is here with us. When he goes home, he should hold a meeting with his people. We will also reach out to his counterpart from Ishough (Mbaivur) so that they will also hold a meeting so that what the Advisers are trying to prevent should not go on,” Akpe said.
On his part, Barr Sunday Udanyi, the DGSA and Acting Chairman of Gwer East LGA, thanked God that Governor Alia has proven that peace is his priority, saying it’s the first of its kind for a governor of the state to have appointed two Advisers on security and it has demonstrated his commitment to peace.
He assured that as Chief Security Officer of the local government, he will carry out the government’s message to the latter.