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Senate decries incessant bloody clashes in Benue, Ebonyi border communities



A woman cries while trying to console a woman who lost her husband during the funeral service for people killed during clashes between cattle herders and farmers, on January 11, 2018, in Ibrahim Babangida Square in the Benue state capital Makurdi.
Violence between the mainly Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers has claimed thousands of lives across Nigeria’s central states over the past few decades. The conflict is being driven by an increasing need for resources — primarily land and water — and is often exacerbated by ethnic and sectarian grievances.
/ AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Senate has condemned frequent killings between the Ezza people of Benue State and Effium people of Ebonyi State where no than 53 lives were lost recently.

This was even as the upper legislative chamber urged the Federal Ministry of Defence, the Nigeria Police Force, and other relevant security agencies to establish a security base to the boundaries between the two states to keep the peace, as a matter of urgency.

The appeal was sequel to a motion titled:
“Incessant bloody clash between bordering communities of Benue and Ebonyi States: Urgent need for Senate intervention” sponsored under matter of national importance by Senator Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) during plenary.

Senator Moro, while presenting the motion, said that “human existence on planet earth is primarily hinged to life and respecting, protecting and placing value on the sanctity of human life is the only sure way for humankind to continue to exist.”

“This is why the constitution of every nation, Nigeria inclusive makes it clear that everyone has a right to life and no one has such right to take the life of another or even attempt to take his own life,” he added.

He noted further that the essence of life is to “live and let live and societal living is possible only when there is communal harmony and feeling of brotherhood among members of the community.”

“Sadly, however, the principle of shared polyphony and feeling of comradeship no longer exist between the bordering Communities of Ezza in Ado Local Government Area of Benue State and Effium of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State following ceaseless Communal clashes between the duo which always leads to killing of one another and destruction of valuables and means of livelihood worth hundreds of millions,” he stressed.

Senator Moro regrettably recalled that a petition on the same crisis was laid through him in the Senate on May 5, 2021 and in furtherance to that, he and his colleague, Sen.Sam Egwu of Ebonyi North Senatorial District together pleaded with their constituents “to sheath their swords and embrace peace, yet the people have refused to bid a farewell to arms and the crisis still lingers.”

“Unfortunately, not less than 53 people on both sides have lost their lives in the recent clashes between the Ezza and Effium people of Benue and Ebonyi States.

“Painfully, the crisis again started in the night and spilled into a better part of the next day as houses of the Ezza people of Ado Local Government Area of Benue State were set ablaze in the night leading to death of many Ezzas in their sleep and it doesn’t look like the incessant attacks on the peace-loving people of Ezza is coming to an end any time soon if urgent steps are not taken to permanently halt the ugly perennial mayhem suffered by the Ezza people in Ado Local Government Area of Benue State,” he added.

The lawmaker attributed the discovery of mineral resources in the area as what has aggravated the communal clashes.

He said the entire Ezza community has been sacked as over 30 persons were killed within 24 hours.

“The border community is now a ghost town as people moved away from their ancestral homes becoming “refugees in foreign land,” Senator Moro added.

Senate accordingly urged the National Boundary Commission to “exercise its powers as enshrined under Section 7 of the National Boundary Commission Act, to define and delineate boundaries between the Ezzas and Effiums in accordance with the delineation instrument or document established for that purpose so as to bring to a final end the boundary issues between the two communities.”

It also urged the National Emergency Management Agency to quickly mobilise relief and rehabilitation materials to families of victims and displaced Ezzas in the recent attacks.

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