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Uk’Omu Igala Sends S.O.S To Buhari, Bello Over Crisis in Kogi East

From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

The Uk’Omu Igala Organization, a national socio-cultural group, with membership across political, social, economic and cultural associations of Kogi East Senatorial District, has lamented the abandonment of the region in the face of natural disasters, accidents, and wanton destruction of lives and properties.

The group, in a statement signed by its National Leader, Mr David Abutu, and National Secretary, Dr Sabastine Abu, expressed dismay at the undeserved silence from Governor Yahaya Bello, the Federal Fire Service, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), and other security operatives, over the multiple and existential crises in Kogi East.

The statement, which was released at the weekend, reads thus: “We are shocked beyond verbal expression that in spite of the fact that Ibaji Local Government Area, and other communities by the bank of River Benue, are under water, Governor Bello has remained aloof as if nothing is amiss in the state. Even Onyedega, Ibaji Local Government headquarters, is under waters.

The people have evacuated their towns and villages and moved to Idah, Delta, Anambra, Edo, and Enugu States in search of safety, with thousands still stranded in the area without any help as all farmlands, roads, buildings, and social institutions have been submerged under heavy floods for close to a week now.

There is comprehensive destruction of valuable assets; all crops planted in the local government, which is one of the food baskets of Nigeria, are lost. But no help has come from any quarters.”

Uk’Omu Igala explained further that, “It is unbelievable that in Ankpa Local Government Area, there was no fire service to halt the spread of fire from a petrol tanker that exploded at Mabolo bridge on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 killing over 20 persons who were burnt and smashed beyond recognition.

The petrol tanker’s brake failed from the hill overlooking River Mabolo, exploded and its fire destroyed all the buses, motor-cycles and persons in and around the busy river. Throughout the hours that the fire razed down people and properties, there was no help from any quarters.

This is totally unbelievable! Ankpa is an old city, a commercial centre and the headquarters of Ankpa Local Government Area, but there is hardly any federal presence. We cannot accept such deadly negligence.”

The group also raised serious concerns over “the attitude of government and security agencies to the constant violence and cannibalism in Bassa Local Government Area of the State.

Apart from indiscriminate killings, victims’ bodies are allegedly roasted and eaten by so-called Bassa Kwuomo militia, who have been at loggerheads with Ebura-Mozum ethnic group in the Local Government Area.

Though there have been communal crises in the area for several years now, the current situation is alarming, and it has political underpinning, related to rivalry over onwnership of land and the leadership of the local government.

The situation has so degenerated that Igala people in the area are living in constant fear of, not just being waylaid and killed by Bassa Kwuomo militia, but also of being eaten by those who claim to be fighting for the rights of Bassa Kwuomo people.

The state government is not unaware of this situation, but decisive action has not been taken to bring those who instigate the evil to book.”

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