Editorial

The Protracted Crisis in Sankera

 THE protracted crisis in the Sankera axis of Benue State which has resulted to incessant killing of men, women and children, will continue to attract unending outrage in the agrarian state and the country at large. Sankera comprises Logo, Katsina-Ala and Ukum Local Government Areas of the state. There is chaos right now, tension and panic everywhere in the area.

THE crisis has stemmed from the maiming, killing, kidnapping, outright armed robbery and stealing, unwarranted arsons and vandalization of property of the citizenry by hardened criminal syndicates.

THIS became even worse when a stubborn militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, alias Gana, the acclaimed commander of the criminals, was killed by the military. It is considered that it is the demise of Gana that has worsened the crisis situation because his ‘boys’ have sworn to avenge his death through unending killings and massive destruction.

SINCE the crisis erupted, several traditional rulers in the Sankera axis have been killed by the dare devil criminals. They had also attacked the official residence of the council chairman of Katsina-Ala local government area, Afred Atera who escaped death by the whiskers, but six persons including men of the police were gruesomely murdered in the attack. Also, the residence of a former House of Assembly member in the area, Ianna Jato was recently razed while his relations were brutally killed. The list is endless.

THE latest was the gruesome murder of Chief Terkura Suswam, elder brother to former governor and Senator representing Benue North East, Gabriel Suswam Tuesday last week.

THE killing of the elder Suswam is on its own very shocking. What will even be more worrisome will be if it is confirmed that  criminals had actually written to the deceased informing him that he and his brothers were being targetted for assassination. 

MEANWHILE, Governor Samuel Ortom has said the murder of Suswam is an open declaration of war on the people of Sankera by criminal elements, and cannot be tolerated. He has promised to arrest the perpetrators.

BEFORE now, the Benue State Security Council was seriously disturbed by the unending crisis and had declared a dusk to dawn curfew in the area. The use of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as okada, was also banned.  The authorities said the decision was in the best interest of the people and meant to restore peace and order.

THE state government has detailed combined security operatives to totally comb the crisis-ridden axis and to avert further attacks. The expectation from the people is that with the swift security measures employed, more attacks would be averted.

THERE is an outcry that security agents are not doing enough. The people of the affected areas are similarly pained that untold hardship is inflicted on them.

Given its constitutional responsibility to protect lives and property of the citizenry, government at all levels must be seen working hard to tackle all security challenges.

THEREFORE, the Federal Government must as a matter of urgency support the Benue State Government to ensure the crisis is permanently brought to an end.

MORE importantly, there is the dire need for deployment of additional security operatives to match the cruel tactics of the organised criminals. Intelligence is key and the people of the area must be involved through all available peaceful measures to foster exchange of adequate and relevant information.

WE therefore call on government at all levels to buckle-up and frustrate the criminals so as not to allow the situation degenerate to an uncontrollable level.

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