Benue/Ebonyi border crisis: Hundreds of people flees border town

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

Hundreds of people are said to flee from the border town between Benue and Ebonyi States following renewed attack on Agila people of Ado local government area by Igbo people.

The crisis which has proceeded many years has seen many killed in the past.

Confirming this to Nigerian NewsDirect on phone, Parish priest of St. Peters’ Catholic Church, Agila Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Onoja said his church came under heavy attack by the Igbo warriors.

“There was heavy shooting in the Church. Since the crisis started, this is the first time, I am experiencing this. They wrote an inscription on the wall telling Agila people to depart the land.  They nearly killed a young man who was farming behind the Church. I called the Deputy Governor Engr. Benson Abounu who promised that government will send soldiers to the area but as I speak to you nothing has been done. We are living in fear. Several persons have deserted the area and fled for safety.

Council Chairman, Ado local government of Benue State Mr. James Oche has decried the incessant attack on the people of Agila by Ngbo people of Ebonyi State.

Oche accused the Ngbo people of  attempt to frustrate the boundary demarcation between Benue and Ebonyi States as well as Enugu and Benue States.

He made the accusation through phone conversation with Nigerian NewsDirect, intimating on series of unprovoked attacks on his people.

According to him, ‘this is the second attack in a week. They attacked Government Secondary School, Agila and a Catholic Church. Though, there are no casualties but basically, they are carrying out these attacks to frustrate the Federal government’s effort at rebeaconing the Benue/Enugu and Benue/Ebonyi boundaries. That is the motive.

“As a matter of fact, we saw that there would be further attacks on Oha-Agila, Ijigban, and Ekele, these are border communities. Only recently the Federal government released money for rebeaconing of our boundaries. So, all these attacks are meant to frustrate the process”, Oche observed.

Collaborating the Chairman’s account, an eye witness and former chairman of the area, Mr. Otse Otokpa said a girl from Agila had gone to fetch water at Reverend Father’s House and was almost attacked but she ran away.

He further said the Ngbo people attempted to attack the Government Secondary School but the locals cordoned it to prevent an attack.

Meanwhile, all efforts to get the comments of the Benue State Deputy Governor Engr. Benson Abounu who is the acting Governor of the State and Chairman, Interstate Boundary Committee failed as he escape through the backdoor of his office after sitting Journalists leaving his official vehicles and security which latter left to meet him.