PROPERTY worth N20 million were said to have been destroyed at Akpoge-Ogbilolo ward of Ado local government of Benue State over political skirmishes by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the area.
Chairman, APC Akpoge-Ogbilolo ward Alex Aboh who led other executive council members of the ward to the state party secretariat, Makurdi where they lodged compliant of the attack on the ward executive members accused political office holders in the area as the master mind of the attack.
The ward chairman accused the state Commissioner for housing and Urban development , John Otokpa Onoja as the master mind alleging that the commissioner organized the attack because his candidate for councillor position in the ward, one Emmanuel Egwurube lost during the last Council polls.
“Emma had boasted before the election that if he does not win, there will be violence in the area. So, on July 6, over 80 youths armed with machete and axes invaded my business centre and restaurant burning it down. They did same to my youth leader Okupa Orinya and looted his phone accessory shop. All my officials were affected even as they inflicted bodily injuries on us”, he stated.
Mr Aboh decried that up to the moment of their compliant no arrest has been made as the State Commissioner of Police Bashir Makama told them, it was a political issue.
Press Secretary to Deputy governor of Benue State Ede Ogaba who hails from the ward, condemned the act as ‘dastardly’, maintaining that it is capable of throwing the entire community into chaos.
Reacting to the allegation, Commissioner for Housing and Urban development, Bar John Otokpa Onoja said that the accusation was politically stage managed aimed at blackmailing and tarnishing his reputation.
Onoja who denied sponsoring any persons for councillorship election in his area, alleged gang up by certain persons to smear his image.
“Some persons have been working hard to ensure that am removed as Commissioner. I did not lobby for the position. Even when I was appointed, they staged a protest against my nomination. What happened is this, an unknown person went to Ebonyi State and shot a woman in her farm and the District head Chief Ede Otokpa summoned the villagers inquiring to know who was responsible for the act”.
”For the councillorship position, Emma and Joseph are brothers. The people said anyone who will represent them most be resident in the area. I have no blood relationship with them. I do not have problem with anyone. I always mind my own business. As a Christian, I will be the last person to instigate any violence in my area”, Onoja defended himself stoutly.
Property destroyed include, residential houses, grinding machine, business offices with telephone accessories etc.
When contacted, the state commissioner of police, Mr Bashir Makama said he was not aware of the crisis and asked the victims to make personal complaint to his office.