*Ochi’Idoma summons meeting of stakeholders says govt has failed to protect his people
No fewer than 46 mourners including the son of the Otukpo Local Government Council Chairman and a police officer, were Wednesday evening reportedly killed in an attack by suspected armed herdsmen on Umogidi village, Enetekpa Adoka district of Otukpo LGA of Benue state.
It was gathered that the casualty figure could be much higher as several persons are missing and unaccounted for.
The attack came on the heels of an earlier attack on the same community which claimed the lives of the three persons whose corpses the community just buried when the armed herders stormed the community for the second time in less than 12 hours.
The Chairman of Otupko LGA, Mr. Bako Eje who hails from the village and whose son was murdered in the attack fought back tears when he confirmed the bloody attack.
According to Mr. Eje, “after the earlier attack which claimed the lives of three persons, we went to the village to see the situation of things and also bury the dead.
“Shortly after the burial the herdsmen came back to the village at about 4:15 pm and killed 46 persons including my own son who was 33 years old.
“They also killed the husband of my immediate younger sister and her son of about 38 years. Several other persons are still missing and we do not know their whereabouts, but I am still in the village.”
Reacting, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Col. Paul Hemba (retd) who decried the incident described it as tragic and painful.
Col. Hemba said “I can confirm to you that there was an attack in Umogidi and as of this morning the causality figure from those who were seen physically from what I was told was 46.
“But the figure may rise higher because some people are still reported missing. Police and soldiers have been deployed there to assist. The situation is for now calm.
“The local government chairman is from that community and unfortunately, he too lost his 33-year-old son. It is a very tragic and painful incident.”
Confirming the development in a terse statement, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene said “eight corpses have been recovered including a Police officer. More police teams have been deployed to the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order.”
Meanwhile, the Paramount Ruler of the Idoma tribe, Ochi’Idoma HRM Dr John Odogbo in a letter he personally signed has summoned a meeting of Idoma sons and daughters over the escalating herders attacks in the Idoma-speaking Benue South District.
In the invitation letter, the monarch who pointed out the failure of the government to protect the lives and property of the people in the face of the ceaseless attacks said, “We must rise to the occasion by taking our destiny in our hands since there is a visible failure on government’s part to protect our lives and property.”
The monarch also noted in the invitation letter that, “the Idoma nation in the last few months has been invaded by an influx of ravaging marauders, who are going about killing our people in their homes and farms with a demonstrated intention to sack our people out of their ancestral motherlands.
“As of today, communities in Agatu, Apa, Ohimini, and Otukpo have been ruined, and our wives, mothers, and sisters have had their horrid taste of this.
“Our fathers and young men have suffered extinction in the most gruesome manners. Just yesterday, a beaded chief of our gracious kingdom was forcefully evicted from amongst us by these marauding herdsmen.
“These people have stolen our peace and murdered our sleep, but our spirit must remain unsubdued!
“This premeditated onslaught is going on in almost every nook and cranny of Benue state, albeit unabated. As it stands, it is either we go to the mountain or the mountain comes to us.”