By Musa Adamu
The Egbura National Development Association (ENDA) an umbrella body of all associations and unions of Egbura ethnic group in Kogi and Nasarawa state as well as the FCT has released what it termed as chronicles of attacks on Egburas and their lands since 1980s by Bassas.
Reacting to recent crisis involving Egbura and Bassa ethnic groups which started last month in Bassa LGA of Kogi state, the association in a statement signed jointly by its President, Prof. Ibrahim Aguye and Secretary General, Prof. Yusuf Aboki, said the recent crisis was only one of the many aggressions against Egburas that had taken place since 1980s.
The statement recalled that the latest one started on April 22, 2018 when Ogbonka, Ogbaozanyi, Ozugbe, Ahutara, Okanga and Ibiroko Egbura communities, all under Mozum Chiefdom in Kogi state, were attacked, their houses razed and many residents killed by mercenaries of Bassas for no immediate reasons.
The statement further revealed that on April 24, 2018, Bassa mercenaries clad in red clothed invaded Ugya community and other Egbura communities in Toto LGA of Nasarawa state, killing several persons and razing a number of houses.
The statement went further to state that on May 11, 2018, Ugya community once again came under attack while Egburas were in the Mosque for Friday’s prayers.
It said: “It took the efforts of the ever vigilant security personnel to repel the attackers. As a result, while four of the Bassa attackers were arrested, a Spiritual home which also serves as their armoury was discovered stockpiled with sophisticated arms and four “Ghana must go” bags of ammunitions at Ugya community.”
According to the statement, on Monday, May 14, 2018, the same Ugya community, even with the presence of the Joint Security Task Force, was once more attacked.
“Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier Gen. Texas Chukwu, in a press statement reported by Vanguard Newspaper of May 15, 2018 said “Nigerian Army has said its troops of 177 Guards Battalion, Keffi, in Nasarawa state, arrested a militia spiritual leader based in Toto LGA of the state. The spiritual Head of the militia group, one Angulu.”
The latest attack by the Bassas, the statement stated, was that of Friday, May 18, 2018, “when they launched a broad daylight assault on Umaisha, the headquarters of Opanda Chiefdom, shortly after the Egburas commenced Friday’s prayers.
“But, since God is always on the side of the innocent they could not achieve their mission. A number of them were aprehended and handed over to the security who arrived shortly after.”
It said all its claims were verifiable since most national dailies, especially Daily Trust of April 27, 2018 and Vanguard Newspaper of May 15, 2018.
Recalling how Egbura communities had been at the receiving end of attacks by Bassas since 1980s, ENDA noted that in 1980 the Bassas attacked and killed many in Itu community including the village Head, adding that Egburas had since remain sacked from Itu community till date.
According to the statement, Egbura communities of Kanyehu, Zono and Umaisha were attacked with many killed and razed to ashes in 1986.
1995, the statement added, Bassas took their aggressions a notch higher when they sacked Ugya community by maiming and killing of every Egbura in sight.
It said there was another attacks in 1997, after the killing of the Councillor-elect of Shege ward, Yahaya Abubakar Sadiq, an Egbura man.
The statement said although it believe in government ability to fish out the sponsors of the recent attacks, it was constrained to provide a lead to them.
ENDA therefore, called on both Governors of Nasarawa and Kogi states, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura and Alhaji Yahaya Bello respectively, to probe into the recent crisis with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
It called Gov Bello to facilitate the return of all the Egbura survivors displaced from the communities of Ogbonka, Ogbaozanyi, Ozugbe, Ahutara, Okanga and Ibiroko Egbura communities, all under Mozum Chiefdom of Bassa LGA of Kogi state back to their ancestral land.
It further called on Gov Al-Makura “to seize this opportunity to reverse the inherently weird and provocative decision of every Bassas to indiscriminately settle at Ugya irrespective of where they were before 1997 crisis. We consider their decision weird and provocative because some of these Bassas were even from Kogi state.