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Mysterious deaths: Apa stakeholders call for calm

By Egbe Attah

Following the mysterious death of 13 persons in Ikobi, Apa Local Government of Benue State, stakeholders from the area have appealed to the people to remain calm, saying taking to violence will not serve any useful purpose.

Speaking to The Voice on Friday, the Apa Council Chairman, Mrs Victoria Amali, said the death of the 13 persons and the hospitalization of many others from Ikobi were regrettable.

She urged the residents to remain calm and allow the relevant authorities carry out thorough investigations into the matter, to ascertain the cause of the death instead of speculating food poisoning or witchcraft and looking for whom to blame.

According to Mrs Amali, who spoke through the local government Information Officer, Sunday Iyaji: “Although the incident is painful and we pray such does not happen again.

“However, tracing the cause through guessing or conjectures and laying blame on anyone with intent to vent anger on such will not help us, but, rather aggravate the situation.

“As a government, we will not rest on our oars until we get to the root of the matter.”

A son of the soil and National President Opiatoho K’ Idoma, an Idoma social-cultural organization, Chief Elaigwu Abutu, said the incident is a painful one,
but, that such should not be a reason for resorting to violence among the people.

He, specifically, called on the youths not to be rash in taking action and avoid being used by anybody to cause mayhem in a situation like this.

He noted that now that investigations are ongoing, it would be difficult to conclude on what or who caused the deaths.

“However, I would advise that our people should beware of what they eat as sources of some of food we eat are not known,” he held.

Abutu, maintained that there was need for caution to avoid similar calamity in the future even as he thanked the government for its assistance to his people in their turbulent time.

Similarly, the Second-Class Chief for Apa Local Government, Chief John Atenyi and the 3rd-Class Chief for the area, Chief Peter Eyikwondani, have called on the people of Kobi to be law-abiding as violence does not solve problems but, rather exacerbates it.

The duo, who made the appeal during a meeting of traditional rulers in the council stated that suspecting anyone for the calamity at this point in time is wrong and if not handled with care could snowball into crisis worse than the current one.

They appreciated both the local and state governments, as well as the security agents for their roles in the matter which they said had helped to avert further damage in the community.

Others who spoke to The Voice on Friday including, the 3rd-Class Chief for Apa, Zone A, His Royal Highness Chief Godwin Iduh and the Press Secretary to the Och’Idoma, Peter Eluma, noted that there was need for the people to remain more united than ever at their moment of grief.

They maintained that threatening to take vengeance on anyone for being responsible for the misfortune was bad, while calling on the government to leave no stone unturned in getting to the cause of the deaths.

“Our people should also help themselves by being hygienic about their eating and drinking to avoid self-poisoning as this present case in Ikobi community has the semblance of food poisoning,” they advised separately.

Recall that sometime in September this year, five persons died mysteriously after eating a meal in Ikobi while in this November, eight persons also died in a similar circumstance, leading to different speculations, accusations and counter -accusations among the locals as well as eruption of violence before it was nipped in the bud.

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