Hon. Francis Ottah Agbo;
Note: that for over 33 years now, there have been reoccurring communal boundary disputes between Agila Community of Ado Local Government Area of Benue State and Ngbo Community of Ohaukwu Local Government of Ebonyi State.
Aware : that these protracted boundary disputes were initially resolved in 1986, when Ebonyi State was yet to be created as Ngbo community was then in Anambra State. The Military Governors of both Anambra and Benue State created a buffer Zone to be managed by the two states through a technical committee pending the final resolution of the boundary dispute.
Further aware: that there have been several clashes between these communities which have led to the loss of lives on both sides, with a lot of people displaced from their homes as a result of the destruction of their houses and infrastructure, including schools, health facilities and even places of worship in both states. Indeed, several people have been killed in the internecine feud between the two communities.
Worried: that greater number of the affected persons are poor people, women, vulnerable people as well as productive farmers who had hitherto contributed hugely to the economy of Nigeria. Today, regrettably, these crises have so under-developed Ado and Ohaukwu LGAs because the means of livelihood of the people have been destroyed. Schools are permanently shut for fear of attack. Aside the fact that they no longer go to their farms, the people now live in fear of being attacked.
I. Urge the National Boundary Commission to identify and demarcate the actual boundary between these two states as it affects both communities;
II. Also urge the Benue/Ebonyi State governments to jointly construct a road linking the two communities or prevail on the federal government to link the Otukpo-Utonkon- Igumale-Agila road to Ekwassi Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government in Ebonyi State;
III. Further urge the federal government to establish a strong military or police
barrack at the site of the forest reserve which will serve as the buffer between the communities;
IV. Further urge the Benue and Ebonyi state governments to intensify peace efforts in the area. These measures, if implemented, will minimize the boundary crisis but what would restore peace to the warring communities and states is the sheer will power to forgive each other. To this end, the two states should mandate the communities to undertake supervised and funded confidence building gestures, such as reciprocal visits to each other’s festivals, celebrations, and markets.