By Nancy Adanu and Egbe Attah
Following the hoisting of Biafran flags by suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra in Ekile community, Ado Local Government Area of Benue State, the Ado Council Chairman, James Oche, has issued a press statement debunking the ownership of any land in Ado by Biafra agitators.
The statement which was issued recently and signed by the chairman says among other things: “That border communities of Ado local government interact in terms of trade and other social engagements with the border communities of Ebonyi State of South Eastern Nigeria but despite this social affinity occasioned by geographical placing, there is a deep, understandable and recognized demarcation as to the geographical integrity and community disparity of the land and people of Benue with that of Ebonyi States.
That the people of Benue State and particularly, of Ado local government, under the distinguished leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom, the executive governor of Benue State, are not party to any form of agitation for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and Ado as a local government authority would defy any such attempt within the ambit of its powers and of the law.”
Oche holds that the council authority notes with dismay that, some indigenes of the local government colluded with and supported the agitators whom they were informed, hoisted the Biafran flag at Odoke Market in Ekile community stressing that, it was only the prompt reaction of the local government authority supported by the military that nipped the action in the bud as they hurriedly disassembled the flag and took to their heels upon receiving information that the security agents were coming after them.
He maintained that those behind that act of sabotage on the territorial integrity of Ado local government and by extension, the state of Benue would be fished out and must face the consequences of their actions. …” we reiterate the firmness of our unwavering support to the administration of His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom and his Deputy, Engr Benson Abounu, who are committed to ensuring the safety of the lives and property of Benue People”, he added.
The Ado chairman urged his people to remain calm, peace -loving and law abiding as they have always been while advising them to report any form of encroachment on their collective land by criminal elements acting under the style of the proscribed IPOB agitators as well as their internal collaborators to the appropriate authorities for prompt action.
Recall that a prominent Ezza man from Ebonyi State had alleged that his kit an kin living in Benue State, especially, in Ado local government are not indigenes of Benue State, but, from the South East, saying, the hoisting of the Biafran flags on Ekile, Ado local government could just be to remind the people of their root.
The man who spoke to The Voice recently in Otukpo on conditions of anonymity, further claimed that his people living in the area are not settlers as seen by Benue people but, are living in their ancestral homes, adding that, it was in the course of state creation and boundary adjustment that his people were indiscriminately carved into Benue. ‘After all most parts of Idomaland were previously in the old Eastern Region” he claimed.
He said he was not in support of secessionist agitation by the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), but, appealed that the Igbo should be treated fairly in Nigeria, stressing that, the current uprising of Nnamdi Kanu and his group is as a result of marginalization and maltreatment of the Igbo in Nigeria. “If people are not treated well, if there is injustice and discrimination in the society, the victims will one day definitely rise to demand their rights,” he averred.
The source futher held that the Benue Igbo are in a difficult situation as they are not accorded democratic dividends by the Benue State Government which sees them as aliens though they pay taxes , while the Ebonyi State Government sees them as Benue citizen, thus, wouldn’t extended any dividends to their domain.
Speaking on the matter, the Ado local government information officer, Samuel Ogbu, said the Igbos in Ado have been making dubious moves in recent time, adding that, they have been agitating to pay allegiance and tributes to Ebonyi State, with the state even dragging revenue collection with Ado local government at Ekile, especially, at Inikiri Market.
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