We’ve Lost Over 400 People, Igbo Community In Benue Cries Out

The people of Ezza in Benue State have decried incessant attacks and killings by suspected warlords in Ado Local Government Area of the state.

The people said they have lost over 400 people in the vicious attacks and killings.

This was contained in a statement signed by some of their leaders, including Mrs. Perpetual Okafor, the President General, Ezza-Ezekuna Benue, Linus Nweke, Board of Trustees Chairman, John Izekwe, Chibueze Ngbabu, Publicity Secretary and other leaders. They accused Uffiom warlords in the Ado local government, Benue State, of being behind the killings.

“It has become imperative to write this, in order to put the records straight for the general public to know about the undeserved atrocious activities by the Uffiom people against the Ezza people and the unjustifiable double-dealings of some Ado stakeholders aimed collectively to worsen the already exacerbated aftermaths of the crisis.

Going down memory lane, on January 22, 2021, the ill-fated crisis broke out into a full blown war between Uffiom and Ezza tribes in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. On the same day too, the Uffiom people resumed coordinated attacks on Ezza Benue people, ranging from abductions and killings of Ezza people in Ulayi, Odum and further extended the heinous, outrageous and heartless massacre to other Ezza communities under Ado local government jurisdiction.

“Exploring some instrumentalities of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the then Chairman, Ado local government area, James Ogaba Oche, on February 11, 2021, initiated a peace deal by inviting stakeholders and custodians of both Ezza and Uffiom to Ado for “covenant and oath-taking.” To make the “covenant and oath-taking more comprehensive and all-inclusive, the invitation was extended to our Izzi brothers and all the district heads in Ado to stand as witnesses.

“The major terms and conditions of that covenant, among others, were that: neither Ezza nor Uffiom people must harm or kill one another in Benue State; that both parties – Ezza and Uffium – should never, again, destroy properties belonging to each other for any reasons, whatsoever.

“That, whosoever, contravenes the restrictions of the covenant between the two tribes – Ezza and Uffiom – then, the other tribes in Ado, will collectively join forces with those whose person(s) is harmed or killed to fight the defaulters. To our greatest chagrin, however, it would surprise you to know that, since after the Peace Pact mediated by then chairman, Ado local government area, there has never been a month or even less than that, that passes without a calculated maiming, slaughtering and butchering of countless numbers of Ezza people in Ado district by the blood-thirsty Uffiom people.

“Yet, Ezza people, being peacemakers and strictest keepers of covenants and oath-takings (entered and agreed upon in good faith) in the history of mankind, have neither contemplated to hurt nor to kill any Uffiom person here in Benue. One faithful day in Ogebe, Apa Ward, more than 160 Ezza people were killed in their cold blood. Again, another day at Okpobula, also in Apa Ward, over 40 Ezza people, most of whom were innocent children, helpless women and aged men, were killed by the rapaciously indiscriminate Uffium warriors.

“Besides, at Nwokwo Odoke, Ulayi Ward, over 20 innocent and defenceless people were killed; at Odum in Ulayi, five chiefs were abducted in one day, one killed and thrown inside well, while many more were killed on sight; the same applied at Ichari, where one chief was abducted and many killed.

“Also, at Otsukputu, more than 30 people were killed; at Inikiri, over 40 people were attacked and eventually killed; at Ojiegbe, more than 30 people were killed; at Anmeka, over 50 people were killed, and lately, Uje has also faced a series of unmitigated attacks, where aged men, women and children were shot and slaughtered by the said Uffiom warriors unchallenged.

“In summary, over 400 Ezza people in Ado have been killed by the Uffiom people and her calamitous agents whereas Ezza people of Benue have neither injured, not to talk of killing any Uffiom person, in Ado, Benue State nor destroyed their properties because we, the Ezza indigenous people of Benue State, remain law-abiding and are propagators of a harmonious peaceful coexistence between Uffiom people in particular, and among other tribes in general.

“Those Uffiom people living together with our people in Odumoke Ijigbam, here in Ado Local Government Area will attest (if they want to be sincere to themselves) to this because we are still cohabiting peacefully without any rancour or qualms,” the people stated.

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