Warring Communities in Benue Embrace Peace

Residents and business owners in the conflict-ravaged Oju Local Government Area of Benue State have expressed joy over the gradual return of peace to the area.

WikkiTimes had earlier reported that a clash broke out between Ibilla and Oju communities in Oju LGA. The warring parties were fighting over ownership of land for a proposed private university.

A business owner, Emeka Obi who sells consumables at the Oju main market, expressed satisfaction with the intervention of the state government which he said has curtailed a further breakdown of law and order.

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“It has been a rough few weeks for us,” he said. “Business activities were at a standstill but gradually peace is returning which we are grateful for. The state government intervened early which is something we are thankful for.”

“We hope that the situation gets better though as business owners our properties were not destroyed but peace is all we want,” he added.

Paul Okwori whose family house was destroyed, still groans over the incident. He called on traditional rulers to maintain peace as life returned to the communities.

“This is an experience I have never thought about in my life. My family’s house was destroyed but I thank God that I’m alive today,” he told WikkiTimes. “I’m happy that the local government is coming alive people are picking up also we need to keep leaving as brothers that we are.”

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In a telephone conversation with the President of Igede National Youth Council, Andyson Iji Egbodo, noted that calm has returned to both communities as he also confirmed the presence of military personnel enforcing the 6 pm to 6 am curfew.

When asked about the number of casualties from the clash, Andyson noted that there were “no accurate figures.” But he said lives were lost from both sides.

“The wife of the traditional ruler has led other Igede women on a peace visit to both communities and they have agreed for peace,” Andyson said 

He further revealed that the Igede traditional council has agreed to make a peace visit to both communities on June 29.

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