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Communal crisis: Benue reopens deserted Awajir-Oju road months after hostility

The Benue State government has reopened the Awajir-Oju road several months after users deserted it following the communal clashes between Bonta community...

The Benue State Government has reopened the Awajir-Oju road several months after users deserted it following the communal clashes between Bonta community in Konshisha and Ukpute community in the Oju local government areas of the state.

Daily Trust had reported that both communities had engaged in age-long rivalry over a piece of land and many people were killed in the process.

It would be recalled that the bitter rivalry between both boundary communities snowballed into the killing of 12 soldiers who went on peace-keeping mission in April, 2020.

Our correspondent reports that as a result of the breakdown of law and order in the disputed areas, commuters as well as motorists avoided the road linking the communities so as not to be caught up in the ugly web.

But, reprieve came the way of travellers at the weekend when the local authorities followed the directive of Governor Samuel Ortom to formally declare the road open to save users the onerous task of going through alternative routes to their destinations.

The local government council chairmen of the two areas led a team of security operatives to perform the ceremony at Aprofin camp occasioned by Ortom’s earlier promise made during his last visit to the people of Bonta and Ukpute community.

He had stressed the deployment of security at the troubled area and afterwards to reopen the road to travellers upon cessation of hostilities.

Chairman of Konshisha Local Government Council, James Jirgba, his Oju counterpart, Clement Onaa, traditional rulers and other stakeholders were on ground to witness the event.

Jirgba told our correspondent on telephone that he and his Oju counterpart led the team of security forces whom the governor had given two vehicles and two motorcycles to escort people to both sides of the divides after the ceremony was performed.

“We will continue to build confidence of people using the road,” he said.

Jirgba added that as part of the confidence building, he was already contemplating that in the next few days they (him and his counterpart), accompanied by security men, will lead drivers of the road transport union operating on the axis to load their vehicles with travellers traversing opposite direction to their destinations so that other people would know that they are safe to ply the route.

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