Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The age-long land dispute between Ngbo community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and Agila, in Ado Local Government Area of Benue State, took a dangerous dimension, yesterday. Four people in Ngbo were killed in the latest fracas.
This came barely one week after the two state governments jointly set up three peace committees, with a view to ending the boundary dispute which has claimed so many lives and property worth several millions of naira.
Benue Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, and his Ebonyi counterpart, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, had, during a meeting at the Government House in Abakaliki, last week, set up and inaugurated the three committees; to accelerate the peace process in the area.
The four victims were said to be members of the peace committees; indigenes of Ngbo.
About two other people from the same area were also said to have been injured.
Sources said the victims were ambushed and killed by suspected warlords; on their way to a peace meeting in Benue.
The Police/Public Relations Officer in Ebonyi, Loveth Odah, a deputy superintendent of police, confirmed that some people were killed in the area but declined to give further details as, according to her, the Divisional Police Officer in Ohaukwu had yet to brief her on the development.
On his part, Governor David Umahi accused stakeholders in the area of aiding the crisis.
Umahi said: “I am not a fool. These things are done by you people. There is no other person that did it.
“It is like you give somebody salt, you give him water. How can you say that these people killed were ambushed?
“I have asked them to audit all your resources that are from Ohaukwu Local Government.”
The governor ordered the police and officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest stakeholders from the area, for interrogation, over the crisis.
Earlier, Ohaukwu Chairman, Mr. Clement Odah, lamented that every effort being made to bring long-lasting peace in the area has not worked as expected.
“Each time we meet and agree that peace should reign, the Agila people will always breach that peace.
“This is one of those cases of the breaches and the effect is that it has produced large number of IDPs in the area,” Odah said.