Tension remains high in Okpokwu LGA of Benue State where violence between two contending local ‘armies’ last Sunday-Monday has left consequences in its wake, including deaths. Apart from the fear of the unknown stalking everyone, there is also fleeing of non-natives, especially Easterners although the violence was not directed at them. They are thus fleeing from uncertainty. Their reaction might be understood in terms of the quantum of rumours circulating freely about plausible fresh attacks. Rumours is thus a different dimension of the insecurity.
It is possible that matters might have been helped if any senior government official had been to the LG Headquarters on a peace making move. As at 6pm Tuesday, no such visit has taken place. It is understood that the state governor, Samuel Ortom has travelled.
Meanwhile, the fortification of Okpoga, the Local Government Headquarters reportedly agreed at a previous meeting with the Deputy-Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu, has also not materialized.
It was reliably learnt that some men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Police have been in Okpoga recently but have seen been deployed to a nearby flashpoint.
Although the current wave of violence is of great concern across different caucuses, nothing categorical has emerged from any quarters on what can be done. Different camps are thinking of what to do. One particular caucus covering three professions might be the fastest to emerge but nothing has concretised yet on what it wants to achieve and how to achieve it.
What is clear is everybody’s desire for peace in a zone of famished presence of government as well as restraining factors such as local leadership, an overwhelming personality or strong norms. Much of each of these plausible restraining factors have either withered away or been challenged by the very hard existential situation, especially for youths experiencing severe crisis of unemployment and motivation. Whether the Catholic Church can break the stalemate has not featured much but that angle is what some sources are hinting even as bare in details yet as to how it might work out. “All we know is that things cannot continue like this” is what Intervention was told. This approach does not rule out several options being thought about but its exponents thinks that there must be a healing component to whatever is done because there has been so much violence of different types for quite sometime in the area.