By Eniola Bakare
Just a few days after the mass shooting and bomb attack at the St Francis Catholic church in the city of Owo, Ondo State, unknown gunmen once again attack the residents of the Igama Community in Benue State and kills 37 residents of the rural community.
Ambrose Adah a resident of the Igama rural community which is located in Okpokwu Local Government Area while preparing for the early morning mass on a beautiful Sunday morning with his family would have never thought that he was going to lose so much that day, see his community get destroyed and end up being a survivor of a deadly attack alleged to have been carried out by herdsmen riding into the community in large numbers on motorbikes. According to Mr. Adah, members of the community mostly women and youths were killed during the attack.
The headquarters of Okpokwu Local Government testified to this stating that, “so far 37 corpses have been recovered and presently deposited at St Mary’s General Hospital Okpoga.”
Mr. Adah further disclosed during a phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that his three-bedroom bungalow and other valuables were destroyed by the unknown herdsmen. He also added: “Dozens of houses were razed to the ground,” while over 500 hundred who were displaced by the attack are seeking shelter at Ojigo ward, and other neighboring communities.
To prevent further attacks, Mr. Adah appealed to the federal government to station a military base in the area. Moreover, to corroborate Mr. Adah’s claims, certain authorities provided statements to confirm the attack, one of which is the federal lawmaker representing Ado, Ogbadibo and Okpokwu federal constituency, Francis Otta, told Channels Television that thirty persons were killed in the attack on the Igama community.
Other authorities who also confirmed this attack is the chairperson of Okpokwu Local Government, Amina Audu and Sewuese Anene, the Benue state police spokesperson. However, Hon. Audu said only 12 corpses have been recovered and Ms. Anene could not provide details on the casualties.
It is pertinent to note that this attack has not only destroyed an entire community but that it is seeming to be a recurrent attack where these unknown gunmen kill people and destroy properties.
Bandits used to illustrate the story
This can be seen with the attack in Owo as well as the overnight raid that took place on the 15th of April in Tior-Tyu, a rural community in Tarka Local Government where 15 people were killed.
In addition to noting these trends in the attacks against helpless and defenseless communities, it is important to see the picture that these unknown “herdsmen” are trying to portray which would be buttressed by a statement provided by Patrick J. Kennedy, the former United States Representative who stated that, “terrorism is a psychological warfare. Terrorists try to manipulate us and change our behavior by creating fear, uncertainty, and division in the society.” Moreover, Richard N. Haass stated as well that terrorists and terrorism cannot be eliminated any more than we can rid the world of disease. There will always be those who will resort to force against innocent men, women and children in pursuit of political goals.”
No one knows exactly who these people are or what they look like, they have no limit and definitely no face to recognize them but one thing that is distinct is the fact that they are determined to demoralize every community and society they come across.
There is always a bigger picture, a bigger goal that is not so clear yet, either of religious or political gains, one thing that is clear is that it is all a strategy to divide the society and cause panic and fear.
It is also clear that the government will not put any real measures into place to curb these attacks and insecurity in the country, however, it is up to every citizen of the country to stay solidly united and make better and informed decision in the upcoming elections so that real change can be effectively implemented. This right here is the biggest picture, the power to change the narrative for the generation to come.