Ukum crisis: Full military intervention has been ordered to curb menace – Gov Alia

Alia

Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State said full military action has been declared to tackle the menace of armed bandits terrorising the Sankera axis of the state.

Recall that bandits had Tuesday night attacked Ayati community in Borikyo Council Ward of the LGA of Ukum Local Government Area, LGA, of the state where they murdered some of the residents which sparked angry protest on Wednesday that was eventually hijacked by alleged criminals who went razing personal and public properties in Sankera.

Addressing the state in a live broadcast in Makurdi, Governor Alia who sympathised with the victims decried the activities of the bandits and the mayhem unleash on innocent persons and destruction of properties in Ukum LGA.

He said, “Since the advent of our administration, several efforts have been put in place to eliminate the activities of bandits. Consequently, the combined efforts of our security agencies pushed back some bandit from their handout outs and subsequently neutralized two bandits, recovered seven motorcycle, two English pistols, a Toyota camry, and commercial tricycle and lots of charms.

“As a reprisal, some bandits hit some soft targets and killed six civilians at Ayati, believing that the members of the Ayati community were responsible for giving information on their operations and locations and handouts.

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“This led to an initial protest of anger and frustration of family members and women regarding the killings of their loved ones on the Ayati-Sai road down to Sankera, understandable. I have heard the genuine cries of those aggrieved families.

“Regrettably, these peaceful protests were hijacked by bandits and miscreants who had carefully planned to undertake and unleash mayhem on businesses and peace-loving people of Sankera. 

“I assure you that I have listened. The mayhem caused by these heinous acts of violence has not gone unnoticed and I stand with you in condemning these atrocities.

Full military intervention has been ordered. My heart goes out to the three soldiers and two police officers who were wounded in the line of duty protecting lives and properties of citizens in Sakara.

I am happy to report they have all been treated and discharged. I had earlier in the day directed the Deputy Governor, who had visited and carried out on-the-spot assessment of the scenes of these devastating destructions.

“However, let me make it clear that while we empathize with the pain and frustration felt, we must channel our energies towards constructive actions. Destruction of public property and chaos only serve to compound our challenges and divert resources that could be better used to address the root causes of these issues.

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“My administration is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all residents of Benue State. We are intensifying our efforts in collaborating with the security agencies to bring the perpetrators of these violent and criminal acts to justice.

“Let me for the last time extend our hands of fellowship to all our youths who have chosen to reside in the forests and continually launch attacks on innocent citizens that my government has ran out of patience and shall no longer guarantee the olive leaf branch extended to them.

Let us not allow the actions of a few to destabilize us. We will not sit back and allow anyone or a group to frustrate the peace of the State and destabilize the government of Benue State.

“To this end, our government will in the next few days, set up a commission of enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of this mayhem. Additionally, more actions will be taken to demonstrate my unwavering commitment to bringing these retrogressive activities to a total end.”

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