By Egena Sunday Ode
The Association of Lawyers from Conflict Zones has called on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to urgently deploy security personnel to quell the lingering communal conflict between Ukpute and Bonta in Oju and Konshisha local governments respectively.
It particularly urged that the Benue State Government should put an immediate end to the invasion of Ukpute community by Bonta militia and their collaborators, by effectively policing the conflict area.
In a statement signed by its President, John Owulo Esq, the group said it believed that such initiatives would minimize further loss of lives, mindless destruction of property and mass suffering of the displaced persons.
The statement read: “We members of the Association of Lawyers from Conflict Zones would wish to urge the Benue State Government to put an immediate end to the invasion of Ukpute Community in Oju Local Government of Benue State by the Bonta militia and their collaborators by deploying security personnel to the conflict area.
“We believe such initiative will minimise further loss of lives, destruction of property and mass suffering of the displaced, especially women and children.
“It will also send the needed signal to the militia who have acted with impunity by repeatedly frustrating government’s effort at restoring peace through boundary demarcation and had gotten away with it.
“Government’s silence in the face of serial violations of its instructions, initiatives and the on-going fighting has potential for misreadings or other conclusions.
“We believe a robust security presence in the conflict area will not only bring to an end the unfolding tragedy but wiĺl serve as a deterrent to trouble makers or violators of peace agreements.
“Given the frequency and scope of destruction of this conflict, we similarly urge the Benue State Goverment to as a matter of urgency, put in place ways, means and processes that could lead to the establishment of a permanent security post between Ukpute and Bonta communities.
“Fighting broke out on Monday, June 14, 2021 when the regrouped Bonta militia, apparently not satisfied with the terms and conditions of peace brokered by the State Goverment, invaded Ukpute.
“The slaughter of women and children has gone on unabated since then.
“The same conflict had snowballed into the killing of a Captain and eleven soldiers earlier in the year by the same Bonta militia.
“Enough is enough!”