Scores killed, properties destroyed as Benue communities clash over electricity supply

by Ajuma Edwina Ameh
2 minutes read

At least 20 persons have been feared dead and properties worth millions of naira destroyed as two local government areas in the Benue South (Zone C) threw caution into the wind and unleashed violence on each other.

Persecondnews gathered that the mayhem was sparked by electricity supply.

The communal clash between the Otobi-Akpegede, Ojantele and Olelekpe communities, in Otukpo Local Government Area (LGA) and Ijegwu, Opirikwu and Okpokwu communities in Obi LGA, have been ongoing for the past two weeks.

The clash was said to have been triggered by some indigenes from Obi LGA, who were reported to have attempted to disconnect power from an electric pole they shared with the people of Otobi-Akpegede, Ojantele and Olelekpe communities, in Otukpo LGA.

Persecondnews that power supply to the people of Obi had been earlier disconnected by the PHCN over failure to pay their electricity bill for several months.

“When they disconnected their light from the pole because the have been owing for several months and have refused to pay, some youths from Obi later came to the pole attempting to disconnect all the other communities connected to the pole. They said they won’t be the only ones in darkness.

“They were chased away by youths of Otobi-Akpegede. They left and later came back chanting war songs, and burning houses, foods and killing people.

“Youth of Otobi-Akpegede, Ojantele and Olelekpe retaliated by also going burn down houses and kill some people from Otobi-Akpegede, Ojantele and Olelekpe,” a youth from Otobi-Akpegede, Itodo Adoga, told Persecondnews in an exclusive interview.

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Sen. Abba Moro, visited the affected communities over the weekend and appealed for peace.

Moro, while describing the incident as unfortunate, asked the warring communities to lay down their arms as “destruction of lives and property was alien to our culture”.

He enjoined the communities to retrace their steps, avoid politicizing a purely humanitarian tragedy and cease-fire.

In their separate remarks, the leaders and stakeholders of the affected communities resolved to calm frayed nerves and stop the fight.

In Okpokwu-Ito, Obi LGA, the leaders and stakeholders, through their spokesman, Mr Dominique Ajiga, thanked Senator Moro for the visit, as he lamented the level of destruction of property and loss of lives.

According to Ajiga, they had agreed to embrace peace and would not do anything to further escalate the crisis unless they are attacked again.

On his part, the Ad’rahu Obi, Chief Christopher Ijale, assured that his people would maintain peace.

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