By Florence Ugbem
Following the crisis that erupted recently in Oju Local Government Area of Benue state, the Benue State Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu and stakeholders from the area have resolved to put an end to any form of animosity, in order for the area demarcation exercise of the National Population Commission to advance.
This was part of the resolutions reached at an emergency stakeholders meeting, held at the Benue People’s House, Makurdi with Engr Abounu. The stakeholders who included traditional rulers, political and community leaders, resolved to bring to an end, every form of hostility, and allow the area demarcation exercise of the National Population Commission proceed as planned.
Abounu, who read out the resolutions, called on the stakeholders to convey the message to the grassroots and ensure that peace is maintained. This, he said is to ensure that Igede land is not short-changed in the actual enumeration that will follow the area demarcation exercise.
It was also resolved that enumeration area demarcation has nothing to do with boundary demarcation or ownership of land, rather, it is for the purpose of preparing grounds for knowing the actual population. The stakeholders, agreed that the crisis emanated from land ownership tussle.
In the areas of dispute, it was resolved that the Benue State Boundary Committee be directed to move into action, using the map of Oju, to aid government in arriving at the decision as to who owns which land. Also, it was resolved that in order not to disenfranchise Igede land in the time-bound enumeration exercise, the exercise should continue in the disputed areas under the council wards the people currently vote.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting include, the Adirahu Ny’Igede, HRH, Chief Oga Ero, the Adutu’ Oju, HRH, Chief Daniel Ulegede, the Oju Council Chairman, Onaa Clement, Chief Adoga Obande, Stephen Otumala Ogbu, and Joseph Okponya. Others were, Chief Mrs Comfort Agogo, Barr Patricia Kupchi, Chief Ode Enyi, Blessed Onah, the President General, Omy’Igede and Mr Ben Okpa among others.