Nearly 3,000 residents of Agila communities in Ado Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state have reportedly fled their homes, seeking refuge in other communities.
Their fear is said to be fueled by attacks on Ngbo people of Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi state who are their immediate neighbours.
According to the chairman of Ado LGA, James Oche who made this known Sunday in a statement in Makurdi lamented that the fleeing residents had created an Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, situation in the area.
He said people were fleeing after the Ebonyi state government recently blamed the armed herdsmen attack on Ngbo communities of April 12 on Agila people who claimed they were also victims of the marauders and had no hand in the attack.
Part of the statement by the Ado LG Chairman read, “the Executive Council of Ado LGA of Benue State hereby expresses outright dismay over the widely circulated press release of the Ebonyi State Government after its Emergency State Security Executive Council Meeting wherein conflicting accusations have been made to sustain the inordinate narrative that the people of Agila of Ado LGA Benue State were responsible for the April 12, 2021 attack on communities in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State.
“The people of Agila who are equally subjects of Fulani herdsmen attack could not have engaged herdsmen to occasion an attack on their behalf.
“It has countlessly been alleged that, the attack on Ohaukwu was a reprisal on the people who had sometime ago allegedly seized and killed over 70 cattle belonging to the Fulani.
“The surviving victims of attack, their family members, the Chief Security Officer of the Ngbo people, Mr. Leonard Igwe and reports of media organizations that investigated the attack have all vindicated the Agila people as the victims themselves and all other persons interviewed categorically stated that, the attack was by Fulani herdsmen.
“It is conflicting also that, the Ebonyi State Government that had outrightly claimed that the attack was by people of Agila is now saying the people of Agila engaged herdsmen to do so.
“We consider that allegation a desperate attempt to fan the embers of hatred and bitterness and to incite the people of Ohaukwu against the innocent people of Agila.”