A group “Idoma Youth Diaspora Summit” IYDS has called on authorities concerned to take steps towards disarming the Edikwu militia terrorising the People of Ugbobi and other surrounding communities in Apa local government area of Benue state.
In a statement, the Convener Godwin Ogah said there is an urgent need for the Nigerian authorities to quickly move in to forestall further break down of law and order especially during the yuletide so that resident can have a peaceful celebration.
Recall that a bloody clash ensued between Edikwu and Ugbobi early December where over 7 persons were killed in a reprisal after armed militia from Edikwu invaded farmlands belonging to Ugbobi community.
Investigation revealed that the militia who have constituted themselves into a brigade of sort have consistently taken laws into their hands by attacking maiming and raping women. A source within the community confirmed that the group go as far as forcefully collecting taxes from residents which proceeds they use to buy ammunition.
Contrary to reports making the rounds online, the bloody clash between Okwiji clan in Edikwu district and Ugbobi community in has been greatly misunderstood.
From their agrarian background, land holding is basically on individual and family basis with the community exercising general control over the entire geographical area. While traditional farm lands are left for owners to cultivate, virgin lands ate allocated to users by Land Use Allocation Committee under the authority of the Clan head.
In the spirit of good neighbourliness and hospitality, the community has been generous in allocating parcels for temporary usage for cropping to neighbouring communities of Akpanta, Ijaha, Olegogba and the farm settlement of Okwiji which migrated from Edikwu in the early 60s after documentation and issuance of receipts.
The recent online publication speculating the discovery of oil deposits at the swamp Fadama land around one of the fish ponds belonging to Ugbobi extending to Asaba in Ojantele/Akpete when the French Oil Prospective Company Forex Inc. began exploration activities then an abrupt end during the civil war.
The new drive by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC has however generated unnecessary agitations by the people of Edikwu who are bent on distorting history to lay claim on the site of the deposits.
Dr Ogah said at the moment, several other villages around the Edikwu community have vacated their homes for fear of the militia whom he said attack other communities brazenly while harvesting their farm produce.
He called on the Benue state government to quickly set up joint task force with a view to disarming the Edikwu militia who also have sent their clan head on exile leaving the community without a presiding chief.