George Okoh in Makurdi
A prolonged inter-party squabble between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) in Ogobia, Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State has claimed four lives, including a former Chairman of the PDP in the state, Major Lawrence Ugbo (rtd).
The former chairman and three others were last Wednesday morning reportedly killed in a bloody conflict between supporters of both parties.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the local government area, Mr. Christopher Ogbleba and his son were also reportedly killed in the crisis.
The crises, according to an eyewitness, was a spill over of the bitter rivalry between a former Otukpo council chairman, Ijachi Udenyi, who is of the APC and his brother, Benjamin Udenyi, who is a PDP member, which also left several persons with bullet wounds.
According to the eyewitness, houses and vehicles were razed by the feuding parties while several persons, including women and children, have been rendered homeless just as many had fled the community for fear of being killed.
â€œThe bloody crisis broke out in the community after some armed youths from Ugboju allegedly attacked a group of young men who were believed to be loyalists of the former council boss while they were holding a meeting with their supposed leader in the community.
â€œThe aggrieved youths beat a retreat and mobilised for a reprisal and the ensuing bloody fight between the two bitter rivals led to the death and injury of many, including the retired military officer who was an APC chieftain and a former state chairman of the PDP,â€ he said.
Reacting, the Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Area, Mr. George Alli, who in company of security operatives toured the devastated community, expressed shock at the level of destruction in the community.
â€œIt is quite disheartening that people can allow their personal differences degenerate to the level of taking the lives of others and razing of their houses and property, I am indeed sad.
â€œI plead for calm and also urge the warring communities to sheath their sword and embrace peace because no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of war and crisis,â€ Alli said.
Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Yamu, said four persons were killed in the crisis while four others who sustained bullet wounds had been taken for medical attention in a public hospital.
â€œThe crisis was attributed to the two brothers, and as I speak with you, we have arrested Benjamin while the search for the other is ongoing. We have beefed up security in the community and calm has also return to the area.â€