NO fewer than 44 persons were killed, while 26 others sustained injuries in communal clashes and violence that erupted in three local government areas of Kogi state.
Apart from this, properties valued at N541.3 m were lost to the crises that took place in Omala, Bassa and Dekina local government areas.
The chairman of the judicial commission of inquiry into civil disturbances in communities in the three local government areas, Justice Josiah Mejabi, made the disclosure in Lokoja, Kogi state capital while presenting the report of the commission to the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
According to him, 115 persons were identified to have been responsible for the mayhem that lasted for several months.
He said the commission during its visits to the communities and public hearings discovered that the crises in Ogane-Nigwu, Iyade, Ojuwo Ajimadi, Agbenema-Ife and Agabifor in Dekina and Omala local government areas were between the Fulani herdsmen and the farmers.
He, however, said the immediate cause of the attack on Orokwo and Orokwo Buse villages in Bassa local government area was between the Igala and Bassa-Kwomu tribes.
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The commission advised the state government to provide palliative assistance to the victims of the crises and direct them.to maintain the status quo pending decision on the report.
Receiving the report, Bello promised to ensure security of lives and properties of the residents of the state, saying his administration would not play politics with the lives of the people.
The governor said he was ready to hunt the people that had been causing mayhem in the state.
He said, “We will hunt you down, we will come after you, you may be able to run but you cannot hide, we will smoke you out. We won’t play politics with the lives of the people.”
The special adviser to the state governor on security matter, Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd), however, called for the establishment of a naval outpost in Nkende, to further ensure security in the area.
He noted that the recommendations of the commission be adequately implemented to bring lasting peace in the affected communities.
Omodara lamented that despite the setting up of the commission Bassa local government area continued to witness violence, while the other two local government areas were peaceful.
He, however, stated that the crisis in Bassa should be taken seriously because of the involvement of two traditional rulers, the Agume of Bassa and the Ahiopa of Mozum.