By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Following the recent murder of 13 persons in Ukpogo, Edikwu Community of Apa Local Government Area of Benue state over chieftaincy stool tussle, the community leaders and youths have appealed to the state government to end the killings by enthroning their preferred choice as Alegwu of Edikwu land.
The call came just after the state government announced the suspension of the two contending parties to the exalted position.
Speaking to Vanguard on the matter in Makurdi, a community leader and retired civil servant, George Adikwu alleged that “the same person who has been bring militia to destroy our community is not the choice of our people.
“The choice of our people is David Otokpa and because of that choice, his rival has been bring militia on several occasions, up to five times now to destroy the lives and property of our people.”
“I am sure you have gone round to see what they have reduced our village to. And Edikwu as a whole is made up of five sub-clans and we beed people here in turn.”
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According to him, “It is the turn of the family of David Otokpa to assume the throne of Edikwu, but this person came from nowhere and because he was in power, had money he was able to destroy people who do not support him.
“And we have been carrying everyday but to no avail. We wrote the government that the person representing us in Apa Traditional Council is not the choice of Edikwu people but they refused to listen to us.
“That has been the trouble and in fact, they have planned to destroy other villages apart from Ukpogo. Residents of the next village are now living in fear that they may be attacked at anytime, and if the government fails to act, another round of attack may occur there.
“The government is supposed to call the people of Edikwu and find out what the problem is and on that basis chose the choice of the people if not the crisis will not stop because he is not the choice of our people.
“Also, the government should set up a panel to investigate the matter to find out why these killings and destructions are taking place and from that point be able to figure out the situation, if not our people will continue to suffer,” he added.
A youth of the community who gave his name as Damian said the people of Edikwu had fled the community because of the crisis pleading that the government should take decisive action and move against the masterminds to end the attacks and killings in the community to enable the displaced families go back to their farms.
On his part, Godwin Gabriel, another youth of the community decried the attacks on the people and appealed to the government to wield the big stick to stem further attacks on Edikwu land.