Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State has expressed worries over the recent killings in Ukum Local Government Area, LGA, of the state, lamenting that the killings are not perpetrated by outsiders, but people within.
Recall that last Saturday morning a gang of unknown armed men stormed Akpuuna village in Ukum LGA, killing over 30 persons, injuring many after which houses and the local market in the area were also burnt down.
Governor Alia, who visited the affected community Tuesday, expressed shock at the level of killings and destruction in the affected areas describing it as unacceptable.
Speaking after assessing the level of destruction in the villages, the Governor said: “I feel quite sad, the people of Benue are so saddened. The Saturday the killings took place was a dark Saturday for the state. This is not what we pray for, hope for and work for. There are number of versions to the stories. I think those who narrated their stories here, when they talk off camera tell you the reality of what it is.
“They fully know those who partook in this inhumane attack. We are still going to speak to them to get to the root cause of it all. But this cannot be tolerated at all. Benue is a peaceful place and peace must return to Benue.
“We will have to ensure that it does not happen again. Ukum Local Government is the headquarters of yam in the state. Every day you see tons and tons of lorries leaving this place with yam. So, we would not want anything that will tarnish that image at all. I advise the youths of Akpuuna that this must not repeat itself any other time.
“We may have earned a bad name in these three local governments of Logo, Katsina-Ala and Ukum. Our President is aware of this and he is saddened by it and this is not what he hopes for the good people of Benue.
“We have to fix Benue and make things work. If you know anyone inciting you, anyone misleading you, let me know, we will hold the person responsible. Benue is meant for peace, Benue is meant for all of us.
“And for the attackers you came for the soft target. This is not acceptable, law and order must be in place. If anyone did anything wrong to you please report it to law enforcement agents. If they cannot handle it immediately they will let my office know.
“I condole the families of those killed, I’m coming back to do the burial when all the arrangements are made. Benue is a peaceful place and I would not want anything that would tarnish this image.
“These are killings from within. There is no one who came from outside to commit these killings. It is you, my very brothers killing each other; it is right within the house and that must stop.
“An entire village is wiped out, how do you explain this? So if Benue is not good enough for you please leave the state. But if you stay in the state it must be by law and order. No two ways about this.”