Linus Oota , Lafia
Unidentified gunmen suspected to be Bassa militias are reported to have launched a fresh attack on Umaisha, the headquarters of Opanda chiefdom in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, burning down the entire communities.
The invaded communities include: Kolo, Kuwa, Kokoto, Kanyehu, Dausu, Ogba, Ugya, Katakpa, and Umaisha villages. The resident villagers have been displaced as a result of the attacks.
This was disclosed to journalists at a press briefing in Lafia by the national president and national secretary of Egbura National Development Association (ENDA), Prof Ibrahim Aguye and Prof Yusuf Aboki, respectively.
The latest onslaught on the Ebgura town occurred on Friday, May 18, in a daylight attack shortly after the Egburas commenced Friday prayers.
“Apart from Ugya, which has experienced alleged sustained attacks by Bassas, surrounding villages such as Kolo, Katakpa and Ogba have also come under attacks on different days, as well as many other Egbura communities in Toto LGA, which are still experiencing guerrilla style attacks, while lives as well as property are being lost as a result,” the Egbura stated.
“We are constrained to give the concerned authorities some promising leads that would prove useful on the timeline of their campaigns of carnage and terror which has seen them raiding various Egbura communities of Toto LGA,” they added.
The ENDA leadership called on State Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to go beyond the usual government diplomatic appeal for peaceful coexistence, by unearthing the causes of the ongoing crisis in Toto LGA, adding that the state government must act without holding back to squarely put the blame where it belongs.
“The state government should unmask the masquerades behind the latest crisis, which we have every reason to believe has political undertones. It should also act to bring those who are hellbent on rubbishing the uncommon feats achieved by the Nasarawa government through ignition of crisis in flash points across the state as we approach the 2019 General Elections,” ENDA appealed.
The ENDA leaders petitioned the Governor to reverse the provocative decision of Bassas to indiscriminately settle in Ugya irrespective of where they were before 1997 crisis. They also called on Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to probe the intractable crisis between the affected ethnic groups in Bassa LGA with a view to bringing the culprits, who have made peace in the area impossible, to book.
They further appealed to Bello to facilitate the return of all the Egbura Internally Displaced Persons from the communities of Ogbonka, Ogbaozanyi, Ozugbe, Ahutara, Okanga and Ibiroko Egbura communities, all under Mozum Chiefdom of Bassa LGA of Kogi State, who are currently displaced to Umaisha and surrounding communities in Nasarawa State, as well as Lokoja and surrounding communities in Kogi State, back to their ancestral homelands.
They called on both the Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to come to the aid of the people displaced from their ancestral homes and camped at Umaisha and its environs.