Benue/Ebonyi boundary dispute: Osinbajo meets Ortom, Umahi at Presidential Villa
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, held a private meeting with Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue and David Umahi of Ebonyi with a view to resolving the boundary dispute between the two states.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two communities-Agila in Ado Local Government Area of Benue and Ngbo community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi have been embroiled in a lingering land dispute.
Ortom spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting in which Umahi was represented by his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe.
He said: “We came here to discuss, at the instance of the vice president, the lingering problem between Benue and Ebonyi States in particular, between Agila and Ngbo communities; Agira in Benue State and Ngbo in Ebonyi State.
“We are also here with the acting Director-General, National Boundary Commission and we have taken far-reaching decision to ensure that we demarcate the boundary between these two states so that we can hold our people responsible.
“As it is now, it is difficult to identify the criminal elements who are creating tensions and creating more of these problems.
“So, I believe that very soon, the boundary commission will be coming up with a programme that both Benue and Ebonyi will team up together with the necessary logistics and security to ensure that the boundary is demarcated.
“We should know the limit of these states; so, it is a border problem more like a communal problem.’’
On Jukun/Tiv crisis, Ortom said that it was a spillover from the crisis between the two ethnic nationalities in Taraba State.
He said there were Tiv and Jukun people in Benue State but they were not fighting.
Ortom said that there were issues in the past and he had set up a Judiciary Commission of Inquiry which was still sitting to look at the remote and immediate causes of the crisis in order to find a lasting solution to it.
“This other one is more of a problem in Taraba; but because there are Tiv people in Benue, each time people are displaced, some run back to Benue; so that is the spillover.
“But I think that the governor of Taraba State is doing well; recently they met and they agreed that there would be ceasefire – though I saw in the press that there are some issues with that peace arrangement.
“Each time there is an effort to solve problems, criminal elements will come and I believe that this is what is happening,’’ he said.
Ortom said that the steps were taken by the governor of the state by inviting both Tivs and the Jukuns to sit together and find ways to solve the matter themselves was the best approach.
He said he believed that once the problem was sorted out in Taraba, there would not be any issue in Benue. (NAN)