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Residents recount woes after Makurdi communal clash

Hope Abah, Makurdi What started as a mere argument between two young adults at Fidi suburb, opposite the Tactical Air Command of the Nigerian Air…

Hope Abah, Makurdi

What started as a mere argument between two young adults at Fidi suburb, opposite the Tactical Air Command of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Makurdi, penultimate Monday, has left sour taste in the mouths of many residents of the area who are now either bereaved, injured or suffering loss of property.

At least three people were allegedly killed and several houses burnt by early hours of the following day after fight broke out between the young adults, one of Tiv extraction and the other a Jukun.

A witness, Mama Nguenyi Nyikwa, explained that: “A Jukun and Tiv boy started an argument which turned into a fight.

“Gradually, other people joined the fight, with support for either party based on their tribe, and before you knew it, the matter went out of control. They started burning houses from that night till this morning and we all fled for our dear lives. Three boys have so far been killed. I know one of the deceased victims as Aondoweser Godwin.”

Another version of the cause of the fight, according to Warref Terseer, was that a Tiv man who sells rodent dispeller had asked a lady near his shop to watch his wares while he went to look for ‘change’ to settle a customer.

Terseer further alleged that on return, the man raised suspicion that his chemicals might have been stolen as the lady was nowhere in sight, but some young Jukun men who were drinking close by berated him for accusing them and a fight ensued.

He added that his house was the first to be razed later that fateful night, lamenting that despite early presence of security to quell the crisis, some trouble makers had crossed over from the other side of River Benue to perpetrate havoc in the area.

At the time Daily Trust visited the area, some of the houses were still ablaze while over 10, 000 people had been displaced from their homes.

Mrs. Esther Agwua, a fleeing resident and mother of seven, said her family slept in the bush while the fight raged on Monday night.

Similarly, Mrs. Regina Yajiga expressed worry that her family of eight had nowhere to go to except by the roadside where their belongings were packed at a corner waiting for no particular intervention.

However, the traditional head of Makurdi local government area, Ter Makurdi, Chief Sule Abenga, said he got wind of the incidence that same night and immediately reached out to security agencies.

“I came early with the sole administrator of Makurdi LGA who sent his boys to comb suspected hideouts. I saw the people across and the boat that was abandoned by the assailants,” the monarch said.

However, the State Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, confirmed one dead and 17 suspects arrested in connection with the incident, as he added that more policemen had been deployed to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

Governor Samuel Ortom also paid on-the-spot assessment visit to the area and condemned the crisis, wondering why a mere argument could snowball into destruction of such magnitude.

Ortom said his government would ensure that the perpetrators of the act were brought to book as he appealed to the inhabitants to return back to their homes, following the multiple presence of security operatives drafted to the locality.

Sadly, the once bubbling Fidi suburb, popularly known as Airport village, at the time of this report still remains a ghost town.

 

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