From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Hundreds of houses have been burnt and thousands of persons displaced in Mu Makurdi local government of Benue State as a result of communal clash.
The incident an eye witness who pleaded anonymity told our reporter that the crisis is recurring occurrence, adding that it is usually over tussle for land.
According to him, it is a struggle for ownership of land between the indigenes, Iharev and the settlers Iparev.
Speaking with newsmen after undertaking an assessment tour of the destroyed area, Secretary to the State Government Prof. Anthony Ijohor frowned at the magnitude of destruction, noting that it is ‘unexpected’ and ‘embarrassing’ to the State.
“The level of destruction is massive. Imagine brothers who have lived together for over 60 years engaging in this kind of destruction. Though there was no lose of life. We will bring the full might of the State and security apparatus to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
“The crisis has to do basically with land. When you talk about land, you also, talk of urbanization. It is an issue of indigene/settlers. I came here to have a first hand information about the crisis so that we would know what action to take as a government. I want to urge the people to exercise restraint and not to embark on any reprisal attack”, the State Scribe said.
District Head of Mbawur/Mbayongo Makurdi local government area Chief Peter Tor Abaka said all efforts made to ensure the dispute did not degenerate to this level failed even as he described the level of destruction as ‘unacceptable’.
He also, out rightly denied any involvement of traditional chiefs in the crisis.
Member of Benue State House of Assembly representing Makurdi South Terwase Aondoaka blamed the crisis on non-remittance of funds from block molding at the Riverside to the former District Head.
“I gathered that a peace agreement was signed that people should stop molding blocks at the Riverside but some persons violated that peace pact and that is why the problem started”, the Assembly Member said.