On Thursday, residents fled Tyomu community in Fidi ward of Makurdi Local Government Area in Benue State following violent clash among the villagers which left several houses burntdown. Witnesses said tension which began building few days to Christmas in at least five settlements of the community including; Yogbo, Akile, Gagabe, Angbaye and Tyomu situated on KM 16, along Makurdi-Gboko road reached its climax on Wednesday evening.
“It was about land, revenue remittance and disagreement between indigenes-settlers. On Wednesday, both sides of the divide took laws into their hands and started setting houses ablaze,” a witness, Solomon narrated. Secretary to the Benue State Government (SSG), Professor Anthony Ijohor, who paid on-the-spot assessment visit to the affected area, told newsmen that the state government was embarrassed over the crisis.
“This is something unexpected and we as a government feel very embarrassed for brothers who have lived together for over 60 years to engage themselves in such massive destruction.
“We appreciate God that no lives were lost but the destruction done to property in terms of infrastructure was massive. We will bring full might of the state to ensure the culprits are apprehended,” he said.
Ijohor identified the crux of the crisis as involving land matters, stressing that as urbanisation catches up with the community, issues of indigene-settlers are now becoming root causes of trouble.
The SSG warned the various trouble makers to restrain themselves from revenge mission as government will do everything within its powers to look into the matter for peace to reign in the community.
On his part, the District head of the area, Chief Peter Akaa, explained that he tried in vain to resolve the matter when it first reared its ugly sight but couldn’t so he reported the situation to authorities ahead of him for prompt solution.
Similarly, the lawmaker representing the affected area of Makurdi-South, Terwase Aondoakaa, stressed that the crisis began lingering in December, last year and that the police waded in so that all the parties concerned signed an agreement which some people, however, failed to obey afterwards.
Aondoakaa posited that by the earlier peace accord, nobody was expected to go to the river bank and mold blocks as the bone of contention were connected with revenue remittance sourced from block molding.