Speaker of the Benue House of Assembly, Hyacinth Dajoh, has appealed to the people of Mbaivur and Mbasombo in the Ikpayongo axis of Gwer-East Local Government Area to sheathe their sword and allow peace to reign.
Dajoh made the call in Makurdi during a meeting with stakeholders from Gwer-East LGA.
He invited the President Generals of the Masev Development Association in Mbasombo and Mbaivur and Ter Gwer for a meeting within five days from Thursday to resolve the crisis between the two communities.
The Speaker who briefed newsmen after the meeting, called for an immediate ceasefire between the two communities.
He also called on the president generals of Mbasombo and Mbaivur to initiate the process of withdrawing all pending litigations regarding the land within five days in order to pave the way for the resolution of the problems.
“If you fail to resolve the crisis, the Benue government will take over the disputed land and send all occupants out.
“I urged security operatives to wade in and ensure that anyone of whatever status found sponsoring or causing trouble in the area to be brought to book,” he said.
A statement by the Ibilla Community Development Association (ICDA) signed by Jerry Ede (national president) and Victor Obeka (national secretary), indicated that the citizens of Ibilla deliberately refrained from responding to the vicious attacks against them.
The ICDA alleged that their brother community, Oju, had continued to provoke them even after Sunday, June 11, 2023, but that they had held back in the interest of peace and unity of Oju LGA and Igede land as a whole.
The statement reads in part: “It is in view of our current state of helplessness that we call on the government, traditional institution, elders of Igede land and all people of good conscience to rescue the peace-loving people of Ibilla community from total annihilation from our ancestral land.”
The group further alleged that the Oju clan had a cache of weapons of mass destruction which they intended to annihilate the Ibilla clan with and “take over our land and rename every Ibilla village as Oju.”
“The procurement of such large weapons is to also enforce their creed that since the federal government has named our local government as Oju, the local government headquarters, now all villages in Ibilla clan must adopt the name Oju as identity.
“In all these massive killings of Ibilla people, destruction of our property and unwarranted provocation by Oju people, we have continued to act lawfully and in good wisdom, which largely prevented the possible unimaginable casualties.”
Meanwhile, the Oju Community Development Association (OCDA), in a similar statement issued to our correspondent two weeks ago, blamed the Ibilla people for the lingering dispute and violence.