Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has vowed that he would not allow any tribe to be harassed by another tribe as long as he remained the governor of the state.
”Under my watch, no tribe will be allowed to harass another tribe irrespective of where they come from, be they indigenes or not. We will protect everybody that lives here so long as they live within the ambit of the laws,” he said.
Ortom stated this during an on-the-spot assessment of the crisis which rocked Abinsi town in Guma Local government Area of the state on Thursday night.
Although, our correspondent gathered that many houses were razed in the crisis, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Omololu Bishi, said six houses were touched in the town by rampaging Tiv and Jukun youths.
The governor who visited the area on Friday morning charged security agencies to apprehend the perpetrators of the crisis to serve as a deterrent to other criminal-minded youths.
He lamented that the incidence took place only a few days after he and his Taraba State counterpart, Darius Ishaku, Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse and Aku Uka, Chief Shakarau Angyu, as well as Archbishop Ignatius Kaigamu and Rev. Fr. James Bature agreed that there should be peaceful co-existence between Tiv and Jukun.
Ortom said the crisis was a grievous disrespect to the government as well as the traditional institution in the state, even as he tasked security agencies to track down those carrying illegal weapons in the area.
He stressed the need for residents of Abinsi to cultivate the habit of peaceful co-existence irrespective of ethnicity, insisting that no part of the state would be allowed to harbour criminals by his administration.
The governor also enjoined traditional rulers in the area to identify and report criminal elements to the police, and threatened to depose any of them found to be shielding or abetting criminal elements.
He announced that a committee would be constituted to investigate the root cause of the crisis for immediate government action.
“The panel will also find out who and who were involved in the crisis. We want to put the crisis to a permanent end,” he said.
Ortom commended Bishi, and Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini for their swift response which he noted prevented the crisis from escalating.
Earlier, the District Head of Abinsi, Chief Christopher Abeke, told the governor that the crisis was allegedly triggered by young boys of Tiv and Jukun extraction who had a misunderstanding.
When contacted, Commissioner of Police, Bishi, said one person has been arrested with a jerry can of fuel while normalcy had been restored to the area, adding that the police were still on ground in the area to forestall any breakdown of law and order.