Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has warned two warring communities in Agatu local government area to either toe the path of peace and good neighbourliness or face the consequences of government drastic remedial action.
Governor Ortom, who visited Obagaji, Agatu local government area yesterday following bloody clashes between the people of Abogbe and Agbaduma directed the local government council chairman, Hon. Mrs Comfort Echoda to issue queries to traditional rulers from the two communities that failed to honour the meeting called to broker peace between them.
He was angry that rather than work together to confront their common enemy, the people are instead busy fighting themselves over unimportant issues and refusing to come together to resolve their differences.
Governor Ortom, represented by his deputy, Engr Benson Abounu stated that the government shall no longer tolerate the killing of innocent people and warned that any further killing of anyone by any person or group of persons, no matter who shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.
To avert further bloodshed, he also announced that government shall take over the fish pond, one of the flash points in the conflict and regulate its usage by the people.
Turning to the security agents, he directed thus: “If one soul is lost in Aila again or Abogbe, take every possible action to deal with the situation. Whosoever is involved, even if the person is a chief, make sure that person is arrested, prosecuted and jailed”.
On the lingering chieftaincy crisis in certain areas, Governor Ortom told the people that where chieftaincy disputes exist, the government, shall, in the next one month, superintend the selection of traditional rulers to fill the vacant positions and thus provide them the necessary traditional leadership.
Relatedly, the people of Enumgba and Engla have agreed to allow the construction of the 2000 units of 2-bedroom houses being constructed in Engla continue without any further demand for compensation as before.
At the meeting attended by Och ‘Apagatu, HRH, Chief Baba Odangla, the Oche’ Agatu, Chief Godwin Onah, other traditional rulers, and stakeholders from Agatu local government, security agents and top state government officials, all the speakers praised Governor Samuel Ortom and his deputy, Engr Abounu for taking special interest in the development of Agatu local government area and pledged to ensure that the peace they crave for returns to the local government area.
They mention the construction of the Oshigbudu-Obagaji road, the Oshigbudu-Oweto road and the construction of the gigantic bridge across the River Benue at Oweto among other development projects going on in the local government as signposts of the governor’s presence in Agatu.