Leave Benue out of herdsmen killings in Ebonyi, Abounu tells Umahi

By Florence Ugbem

Benue State Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, has expressed disappointment in a statement credited to the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr David Umahi, indicting the Agila people of Ado Local Government Area of Benue State for the Monday, 12 April, 2021 attack on Umwuagodo-Akpu community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in which an unspecified number of people were allegedly killed.

This was contained in a press release signed by Engr Abounu as Chairman, Benue State Boundary Committee. He frowned at Governor Umahi’s attempt to change the narrative and find scapegoats for an action he said everyone, including the survivors themselves said was carried out by Fulani herdsmen.

The deputy governor stated categorically that there was no evidence linking the Agila people of Benue State with the offence. He further explained that when the attack first occurred, even without any form of verification, and against the avalanche of evidence that it was carried out by Fulani herdsmen, Governor Umahi had hurriedly accused Agila people of responsibility.

Engr Abounu who sympathized with the victims and families of those affected in the gruesome attack, however, expressed displeasure over governor Umahi’s stance. He disclosed that two weeks after, in order to validate his earlier assertion, Governor Umahi is laying blame on the Agila people even as he had accepted that the attack was actually carried out by Fulani herdsmen.

The deputy governor revealed that when news of the attack broke and the governor cast aspersion on the Benue side, as Chairman Boundary Committee, he engaged his Ebonyi counterpart and both of them  investigated the unfortunate incident. He stated that their findings did not support the claim that Agila people either directly attacked or masterminded the attack on Umuogodo-Akpu of Ebonyi State.

Following Governor Umahi’s accusation, Engr Abounu has urged him to make available all evidence, if any, of Agila’s involvement in the said attack. He said, “otherwise we in Benue will have no choice but to conclude that the govemor’s unfounded claim amounts to inciting his people against Agila people and by extension, Benue State. Moreso, as the governor in his press briefing after the state security meeting, presented a cheque of N40m to Umuogodo-Akpu people to settle the victims and to enable them form a “vigilante.”

Engr Abounu described the statement by Governor Umahi as dangerous and therefore, demanded that he takes a second look at the whole saga, in order to properly address the unfortunate event.

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