In a bid to bring lasting peace between the war torn Bonta and Ukpute Communities in Konshisha and Oju Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State, stakeholders from both communities have agreed to sheathe their swords to allow for amicable resolution of the crisis.
The stakeholders made the pledge when Governor Samuel Ortom led top government officials, political and traditional leaders to a peace meeting with the communities in Bonta and Ukpute.
Bonta and Ukpute communities living at the border areas of Konshisha and Oju LGA of the state have been at each other’s neck over land, a crisis which has led to attacks and reprisals with both communities being at a loss.
The Next Edition recalls that the lingering communal crisis between them have claimed not only the lives of community members but also that of 11 soldiers and a Colonel leaving properties worth millions of naira destroyed.
Speaking at the meeting which held on Monday, the youths from both communities, Terkula Akaakar, Emmanuel Akpen and Mike Ube said they have agreed totally to the peace message brought by the Governor and his entourage. They, however, appealed that concrete steps should be taken to amicably resolve the main issues.
Governor Samuel Ortom who had urged the people of Bonta and Ukpute Communities to sheathe their sword and embrace peace said “there is nothing that could be compared with peace because without peace, development will continue to elude the people. There should be no more hostilities. I enjoin you to embrace peace and dialogue.”
Governor Ortom who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu, members of the National Assembly and State Assemblies and other top government officials said allowing the crisis to linger would only bring death, hunger and poverty.
The Governor admonished them that two wrongs can never make a right saying, already, government is working hard to demarcate the boundary between the two communities and urged them to cooperate.
He also assured the people of his commitment to liaise with the police hierarchy to station a police post at their boundary but warned against a repeat of the incident in Bonta where army personnel were murdered.
Senator representing Benue North East, Gabriel Suswam and his Benue South counterpart, Senator Abba Moro, re-echoed the need for the people to give peace a chance, noting that escalating the crisis would not serve any useful purpose.
Senators Gabriel Suswam particularly appealed to the youths to be peace agents rather than war pledging that as leaders, they would not rest until peace is returned to the areas.
The traditional rulers on both sides promised to abide by the peace accord initiated by the State Government.
Tor Jechira, Chief Clement Uganden who represented Tor Tiv, and Oche Otukpo-Ohimini, Chief Mike Okochi representing the Och’Idoma commended the peace initiative of the Governor expressing joy that the two communities would witness peace again.