There’s an ongoing war between residents of Owukpa community, a suburb of Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State and some Fulani Herdsmen, DailyPost can report.
The conflict, which broke out on Saturday has left many residents injured while others have fled their homes for safety.
The affected villages include, Ubafu, Umufu and Atamaka in Ehaje Ward 11 area of Owukpa.
A resident who gave his name as Austin Okpe (Buzee), said problem started Saturday morning when some angry youth in the community confronted some Fulani Herdsmen breeding cows in their land to relocate.
Okpe said “the Fulani people have destroyed our crops and polluted our water since they arrived the community months ago. We told them to go but they refused, claiming that Nigeria belongs to all of us,” Okpe, a professional tailor and an indigene of Ugbugbu told DailyPost.
DailyPost gathered that problem started when the people got tired of their continuous stay in the land and told the Herdsmen to kindly relocate.
Apparently angered by their refusal to go, “some youth mobilized themselves and confronted them to leave the community immediately. In the process of the argument, one of youth snatched one of their motorbikes and fled,” Another source confirmed.
In a quick reprisal, the Herdsmen invaded Atamaka and its neighbouring villages and destroyed some houses as well as their farm produce. Also destroyed were cloths and electronics.
“Many people were injured and are currently receiving treatment at different hospitals,” the source said.
Confirming the incident to our reporter, the mayor of Ugbugbu, chief James Agaba Ojobo called on the state and federal government to come to their aid.
“As I am talking to you now, residents of Atamaka, Umufu, Ubafu, Ugbugbu, Olediro as well as Udaburu have fled to Itabono community because of the incident.
“The Fulani Herdsmen are currently destroying our houses and crops. We call on Governor Suswam to come to our assistance before they raze down our community,” the community leader pleaded.
Also speaking with our correspondent at Atamaka, Ugbugbu youth President, Lawrence Ogwa Agwu estimated the destruction of property to millions of naira, stating that most residents have deserted their homes as a result of the attack. He said three community elders who were injured in the attack were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. Lawrence said, some Policemen were mobilized from the local government police headquarters in Otukpa by the DPO who had already taken photos of the property destroyed in the attack. Accusing the traditional ruler of a neighbouring town- Ichama, Ada Eno-ene, Lawrence said ” we understand that the traditional ruler of Ichama, a neighbouring community sold a portion of land very close to Atamaka to the herdsmen for 2.5 million naira, giving the herdsmen to operate indiscriminately within the area. They are claiming ownership of the land sold to them plus our land.”
Lawrence called on both state and the federal government to quickly mobilise security men to the area to avoid further break down of law and order. He said, we will continue to remain vigilant until the government intervenes.