At least 12 persons were feared dead with property worth millions of Naira destroyed in an outbreak of communal crisis between inhabitants of Ojantele and Ijegwu communities in Otukpo and Obi local government areas of Benue State.
Report says the fighting started on Tuesday following renewed dispute over a piece of land adjoining the warring neighbours.
The clash has reportedly resulted in destruction of houses, huts and economic trees in the warring communities, leading to the displacement of close to 120, 000 inhabitants of the affected communities who are fleeing from the crisis.
It was also gathered that among those who lost loved ones in the conflict was the Benue State Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia, whose cousins were reportedly slaughtered in the fighting.
However, the Benue State House of Assembly has on Wednesday reacted to the renewed conflict, calling on the Benue State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Christopher Katso to dispatch officers and men to the crisis zone in order to restore law and order in the communities.
Mr. Baba Ode, representing Otukpo/Akpa constituency, told the House that he received a phone call from an anonymous caller, intimating him that fighting had erupted between his constituents and the neighbouring Ijegwu community in Obi local government area.
Ode explained that thereafter he further received text messages from relations, who informed him of the escalation of the crisis, leading to the death of his close associates and friends, adding that as at Tuesday, not less than six deaths had been recorded in the crisis.
According to Ode: “The problem we have in this country is that whenever there is a crisis anywhere and peace is restored, everyone goes home with no efforts put in to ensure that permanent peace is restored in the affected area. That is exactly the situation we have found ourselves in this particular case”.
The lawmaker urged the House to compel the Surveyor General of the state to carry out a proper demarcation of the boundaries of the affected communities as a remedy.
Mr. Nick Eworo representing Obi constituency, called on the state government to dust up the report of the panel of enquiry set up in 1996 to investigate the crisis with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.