Agatu Killings Similar To B’Haram Insurgency, Says Ochoche
…As IGP Arase Urges Peace
Shocked by the level of arson and killings perpetrated against communities in Agatu Local Council of Benue State by Fulani herdsmen, the Executive Director of Victims Support Fund (VSF), Prof. Sunday Ochoche, has likened the carnage to the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the North-East region of the country.
Ochoche, who made the declaration while speaking with journalists during an assessment visit to the affected communities, called for the deployment of adequate security to safeguard lives and property in the area.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase has urged the warring parties to maintain peaceful coexistence among themselves.
Arase, who spoke during an interactive meeting with leaders of Agatu people and the Fulani’s on Thursday evening said the police lacked sufficient personnel to cover every security space in the country.
The VSF team visited major settlements in Agatu local council including Edeje, Aila, Adagbo, Akwu, Okokolo, Ogbouju, Odugbeha, Abugbe and Ogbaulu, among others.
Ochoche said: “It is shocking that almost all communities in Agatu local council area were burnt down. All schools, churches, hospitals, crops and farms were leveled down. This tells us the level of humanitarian crises that is with us. You can see that decomposing bodies are loitered everywhere and it means the security of the community is critically important and must be tackled.”
He urged the people to remain calm while they await interventions from the government and other agencies, intimating that the Presidency has directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide them with relief materials.
While paying condolences on behalf of the President to Ochi’ Idoma, Agabaidu Ekoyi Obeikpa at his palace in Otukpo, Ochoche appealed for calm from the Idoma nation as they await Federal Government’s efforts to address the situation.
Responding, Ochi’ Idoma noted that the Fulani and the Agatu people had been friendly under his kingdom and wondered why the sudden hostility and killings.
He, however, expressed gratitude to the federal and state governments for their efforts so far to bring the crises to an end.
Arase disclosed that even with the shortage of personnel, he has deployed additional four Mobile Police team to the troubled areas of Agatu.
He explained that his visit was a directive from the Presidency to come and mediate between Agatu people and Fulani herdsmen.
He charged the community leaders, the clergies as well as traditional institutions to educate their members on the need to live together in peace.
Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives, Adamu Entonu, who represents Agatu/Apa Federal Constituency, has lamented the carnage meted on his people by Fulani herdsmen.
He called on the federal Government to urgently deploy enough soldiers to the affected communities so as to provide an environment that would warrant the quick return of the people to their ancestral homes.
Entonu, who wondered why the action had not been taken up, further appealed to the government to quickly start the rebuilding and rehabilitation process of the communities.
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