From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The House of Representatives hopeful for Gwer/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Engr. Aernyi Benjamin Tersen has called for the cessation of hostilities between Mbaviur and Mbasombo Communities in Gwer East local government area of Benue state.
Aernyi, in a statement signed by his Media Coordinator, Terzungwe Qua-Aondo, expressed deep worries that a communal clash between two sister communities has festered and escalated in scale and scope leading to massive destruction of lives and property worth billions of naira.
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“He therefore called for the two warring communities to sheathe their swords and embrace peace and dialogue in the spirit of oneness and brotherhood.
Aernyi recalled that the two communities of Mbaviur and Mbasombo with settlements in and around Ikpayongo town have been fighting over disputed pieces of land following claims and counter claims from both communities.
“Since the beginning of the crisis there have been series of attacks on either side and a great number of lives have been lost and property worth billions of naira destroyed.
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“There have been house torching and burning of farm produce with the attendant closure of schools as thousands of women and children have been rendered homeless. Several lives have been lost. Ikpayongo, a once vivacious and lively town has become a ghost and a shadow of its former self and looks totally deserted.
He lamented that what is happening in Ikpayongo is a full scale humanitarian disaster which he noted, had left great number of families hungry and homeless in their ancestral land.
“There is obviously a refugee crisis and something needs to be urgently done. Stakeholders at all levels must immediately to rise to the occasion to bring succour to suffering families, women and children who are homeless and exposed to the mercy of the elements.
It is in this regard that Aernyi has urged the government of Benue state to double its efforts by mobilizing and drafting security personnel to quell the situation while critical stakeholders are engaged for a workable ceasefire. NGOs should also do something to mitigate mass suffering which is currently the biggest fall out of the crisis,” the statement read in part.