Three killed, houses razed over chieftaincy tussle in Kogi State
• Gov. Bello Calls For Calm
At least three persons have lost their lives, while several houses were razed down over chieftaincy tussle in Ankpa local government area of Kogi state.
This latest development was coming few weeks after five persons were killed in clash between the farmers and herders in Ofarachi area of the state.
It was learnt that the lingering disagreement over who among two clans in Akwu community should produce the village head, snowballed into a full-blown fracas which led to the death of the victims Wednesday night.
Sources who pleaded anonymity said that the disagreement over the Onu Akwu stool has been on for years and had led to series of litigation, noting: “We were sleeping when we heard commotion from the eastern part of the community and when I came out, some houses were already on fire.” He noted that 20 houses were razed in the clash, which lasted over five hours.
According to him: “We retrieved three bodies and evacuated many injured to health centers and hospitals in Ankpa and environs.”Among the houses burnt were those of the administrator for Ankpa LGA, Mr. John Aduga, whose kinsman is said to be one of the contenders to the chieftaincy.
The Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, William Aya, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed the incident on Thursday.According to him, altercation over chieftaincy claims led to the clash, with consequent deaths and destruction, adding that apart from the three deaths recorded and houses razed, five motorcycles were also burnt in the fracas.
He said the number of casualties could have been higher if not for the timely intervention of police operatives from the Ankpa Division.He however said that no arrest has been made in connection with the incident as residents deserted the community on sighting men of the command
Meanwhile, Governor Yahaya Bello urges the people of Akwu in Ankpa Local Government Area to sheath their swords over chieftaincy tussle, and avoid preventable violence.
In statement on Friday in Lokoja, by the Chief Press Secretary to, the Onogwu Muhammed, the Governor, stressed that there are procedures for appointment, confirmation and coronation of chieftaincy title in every chiefdom, and as such every lay down procedures should be strictly adhered to.
The governor, therefore, advises the people of Akwu to follow such procedures rather than taking laws into their hands, warning that his government would not condone any act of needless violence.
The governor warns that any further breakdown of law and order in the area will not be condoned and the perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law, admonishing the traditional rulers to keep their doors opened to entertain complains from their subjects at all times in order to avoid unnecessary escalation of violence and ensure peaceful coexistence.
Bello sympathised with the victims of the ugly incident at Akwu, while assuring that the government through the law enforcement agencies will go after those who took law to their hands to forment violence, and bring them to justice, saying: ‘’Every life is precious to us as government; anyone found with committing any act of violence for selfish reasons will face the full wrath of the law’’.Efforts have been put in place to mitigate further escalation, as well as relief interventions to the affected persons.