All eleven (11) kindred heads and elders of Opialu Village in Edumoga Ehaje, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State might be on their way to signaling communal disgust over the presumed death of Mrs Monica Agbo, the 60 years plus woman kidnapped from the remote rural area three months and one week ago. Mrs Agbo was kidnapped September 1st, 2018, marking the arrival of kidnapping for ransom in one of the remotest part of Benue State in central Nigeria by unknown gun men who initially demanded N15 million for her release. They reduced it to N6 million and N1.5 million later.
The kidnap operation which naturally threw the village and villagers into mourning and prayers was described as a classic, involving gun shots that were as loud as thunderclap, to quote someone who watched it from her window. It all took place about 10: 30 pm that Saturday night when some unidentified gunmen invaded the sleepy village and took away the mother of an aspirant for the position of the Benue State House of Assembly in the forth coming 2019 general election. The gunmen who shot sporadically into the air during the operation came on motorbikes, contacting the son of the woman, Mr Richard Agbo Ikwuta, the next day to demand the ransom. Thereafter, not much was heard until recently when the community made up its mind that Mrs Agbo is no more alive. One ‘evidence’ is that the kidnappers have all switched off their phones.
If all plans work out, the elders want to find out from Mr. Francis Ogwuche Olofu, the Chairman of Okpokwu LGA what might have happened to the woman and why no layer of government ever said anything about the incident. Already alarmed that an elderly woman of no political or material value to gladiators could be kidnapped from such a very rural settlement, the elders are equally worried that there is no guarantee against a repeat performance. Not only is the police in the area overstretched, criminality is reported to be rising and the operators much bolder. And this is in addition to very frosty herder-farmer relationship in the area. The combined effect on the security situation is a local version of the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short image of existence for which government was thought to be the answer by philosophers of power such as Thomas Hobbes.
But when Intervention contacted the extraordinarily eloquent Chief Eche Uloko, the Clan Head of idoko-Uloko under whom Opialu Village falls, he declined to confirm the move even as he did not directly deny it. His proverb that, like the snake, Opialu’s hands and legs are in its belly can be taken as meaning either or both. The Clan Head was more forthcoming or more excited by a new communal rule book that every homestead must dig and maintain a pit latrine henceforth. In recent years, the village has suffered from epidemics that global health governance actors have traced to the communal source of water. It is not a stagnant source of water but nevertheless horrible. Also exciting the chief is another similar rule which demands a full burial from any girl linked to an abortion. It is the elders’ own language for saying that promiscuity is unacceptable in the village because without promiscuity, abortion will not arise.