Ebonyi/Benue boundary crisis: Gunmen behead peace panel members
Edward Nnachi, Abakaliki
Four members of a peace committee set up by both Ebonyi and Benue state governments to end the age-long boundary dispute between the people of Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi and their neighbours Agila, in Ardo Local Government Area of Benue State, were on Thursday beheaded by unknown warlords.
Last week, Deputy Governors of Ebonyi and Benue states, Dr. Kelechi Igwe and Chief Benson Abonu held a meeting at the Government House, Abakaliki and inaugurated three committees namely, Inter-community peace committee, Ohaukwu/Ado Inter-Local Governments Peace Committee and a Technical Committee with members drawn from the National Boundary Commission, Office of Surveyor General of the Federation and Surveyors General of Ebonyi and Benue states to end killings, maiming and destructions in the crisis.
But on Wednesday, four members of the peace committee who hailed from Ngbo community, in the Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State, were beheaded, while two others sustained severe injuries on their way to a peace meeting in Benue State over the crisis.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, on Thursday summoned a stakeholders’ meeting of people from the area and ordered the arrest of the chairman, Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi state, Hon. Clement Odah and 39 others over the killing.
The PUNCH reports that the incident took place barely a week after the inauguration of the committees.
Visibly angry Umahi ordered the police and the Department of State Services in the state to arrest stakeholders from the area and interrogate them over the crisis.
“Those arrested will be going to the police and DSS every day over the matter after their bail,” he said.
The governor said the killing was not ordinary and accused the stakeholders of causing the crisis.
He said, “I am not a fool. These things are done by you people. There is no any other person that did it. It is like you give somebody salt, you give him water. How can you say that these people killed were ambushed?
“I have asked them to audit all your resources, those of you from Ohaukwu Local Government Area.”
But briefing the governor at Executive Chamber of the Government House earlier, the Chairman of Ohaukwu, Clement Odah, noted that the killings occurred barely one week after the Deputy Governor of Benue State and his Ebonyi counterpart, including the Chairman of Ardo LGA of Benue State, visited Ebonyi State and inaugurated three committees to find a lasting solution to the killings in the area.