The Ibilla community in Oju LGA of Benue State on Thursday called on the government at all levels for intervention over a lingering land dispute which has rendered them helpless.
Our correspondent reports that at least one person was killed while several houses were burnt on June 11, after two clans, Oju and Ibilla, fought over the location of the proposed University of Applied Sciences and Technology (UNAST).
A statement by the Ibilla Community Development Association (ICDA) signed by Jerry Ede (national president) and Victor Obeka (national secretary), indicated that the citizens of Ibilla deliberately refrained from responding to the vicious attacks against them.
The ICDA alleged that their brother community, Oju, had continued to provoke them even after Sunday, June 11, 2023, but that they had held back in the interest of peace and unity of Oju LGA and Igede land as a whole.
The statement reads in part: “It is in view of our current state of helplessness that we call on the government, traditional institution, elders of Igede land and all people of good conscience to rescue the peace-loving people of Ibilla community from total annihilation from our ancestral land.”
The group further alleged that the Oju clan had a cache of weapons of mass destruction which they intended to annihilate the Ibilla clan with and “take over our land and rename every Ibilla village as Oju.”
“The procurement of such large weapons is to also enforce their creed that since the federal government has named our local government as Oju, the local government headquarters, now all villages in Ibilla clan must adopt the name Oju as identity.
“In all these massive killings of Ibilla people, destruction of our property and unwarranted provocation by Oju people, we have continued to act lawfully and in good wisdom, which largely prevented the possible unimaginable casualties.”
Meanwhile, the Oju Community Development Association (OCDA), in a similar statement issued to our correspondent two weeks ago, blamed the Ibilla people for the lingering dispute and violence.