It turned out an anti-climax at the end of the day. Mr Bashir Makama, the Benue State Commissioner of Police did not visit violence torn town of Ugbokolo eventually as scheduled. The visit has been rescheduled for next Tuesday. No official reasons were given but Intervention understood from unimpeachable sources that the Compol was unwell to make the trip to Ugbokolo. He was still being expected in the town up to midday today.
Psychological relief from his physical presence has automatically been deferred as residents prepared for another night of suspense and dread. There is what Intervention’s stringer in the town reported as 24 hour police patrol but there is also a popular belief that the gangsters can penetrate the security cordon and get at whoever they have planned for, police patrol or not.
Ugbokolo is not exactly a ghost town but neither is it the bustling student dominated town it has been. Dread is said to have replaced that past in addition to discreet but observable disposition of shops, land and houses preparatory to moving out of the town by those who feel most vulnerable. Already, those who can afford it are understood to have relocated to Otukpo already.
Meanwhile, drivers from outside the town have begun by-passing it. Intervention has been told by more than two sources that drivers from Obollo Afor in Enugu State now take through Ankpa-Makurdi Road instead of Obollo-Afor-Ugbokolo-Otukpo route and then onwards. Transport fares are understood to have remained steady.
Benue State itself has witnessed considerable violence of recent, particularly in Logo Local Government Council where both gunmen and herdsmen had had a violent field day in the past few months. There is no idea whether this is anything systematic or random. Whichever one, it adds violence to poverty, a terrible reality for a completely civil service state and an ‘uncaptured peasantry’.