By Peter Duru
No fewer than 3,000 residents of Agila communities in Ado Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state have reportedly fled their homes and seeking refuge in other communities for fear of being attacked by Ngbo people of Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi state.
Chairman of Ado LGA, Mr. James Oche who made this known yesterday in a statement in Makurdi lamented that the fleeing residents had created an Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, situation in the area.
Vanguard gathered that the people were fleeing after the Ebonyi state government recently blamed the armed herdsmen attack on Ngbo communities of April 12 on Agila people who claimed they were also victims of the marauders and had no hand in the attack.
Part of the statement by the Ado LG Chairman read, “the Executive Council of Ado LGA of Benue State hereby expresses outright dismay over the widely circulated press release of the Ebonyi State Government after its Emergency State Security Executive Council Meeting wherein conflicting accusations have been made to sustain the inordinate narrative that the people of Agila of Ado LGA Benue State were responsible for the April 12, 2021 attack on communities in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State.
“The people of Agila who are equally subjects of Fulani herdsmen attack could not have engaged herdsmen to occasion an attack on their behalf.
“It has countlessly been alleged that, the attack on Ohaukwu was a reprisal on the people who had sometime ago allegedly seized and killed over 70 cattle belonging to the Fulani.
“The surviving victims of attack, their family members, the Chief Security Officer of the Ngbo people, Mr. Leonard Igwe and reports of media organizations that investigated the attack have all vindicated the Agila people as the victims themselves and all other persons interviewed categorically stated that, the attack was by Fulani herdsmen.
“It is conflicting also that, the Ebonyi State Government that had outrightly claimed that the attack was by people of Agila is now saying the people of Agila engaged herdsmen to do so.
“We consider that allegation a desperate attempt to fan the embers of hatred and bitterness and to incite the people of Ohaukwu against the innocent people of Agila.”
Continuing, the statement read, “we make it known to all that, we find the N20Million support given by the Ebonyi State Government to aid the Vigilante of Ngbo community of Ohaukwu LG to purchase security outfits disturbing as it could be a source of empowerment to procure arms and attack our people.
“We wish to inform all that, this sustained falsehood against the people of Agila has created panic among the Agila people for fear of imminent attack and has created a serious situation of over 3,000 IDPs vacating Agila land to seek refuge in Igumale and Apa Agila areas of Ado LGA.
“We make bold to state that, in the wake of these developments, should any form of attack be occasioned against the people of Agila, the Government of Ebonyi State would be held responsible as their sustained falsehood would likely have triggered same.”