The past few months have been stories, stories of Abakpa traders and the government; stories of relocation and the snide remarks, threats and seeming virulent threats that came with it. When it seemed the dust of the little scuffle is settling down, another rose, and appears to be more threatening than the first. For the past few weeks, all we have ever heard in Ebonyi state, is the raging drums of war, that has filtered into every corner. Each new day deluges us with gory effigies and transmogrified body frames of war victims. This has indeed wrapped most of the masses in a blanket of fear, at the sight of children, elderly people butchered like meat; and bans and properties worth millions, razed down to ashes.
The war between the Ngbo community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area and the Agila community of Ado Local Government of Benue state indeed has become a thing of great concern. The war between the two communities has actually been an age-long war over boundary dispute. The recrudescence of the war cannot but be connected to the missing and subsequent death of a naval officer, David Igbashal, serving in Calabar, Cross River state, who missed his way while travelling to Benue state en route Ohaukwu-Effium road. He was declared missing on the 23rd of February, 2020. This must have been part of the reason that irked his brothers to launch a revenge attack, unbeknownst to the people of Ndegu Orie of Ngbo community, who are actually the closest to the disputed boundary area. But it must be known that the age-long boundary dispute and the missing naval officer, all add up, the latter just serving as a leeway to fuel previous grievances.
Boundary disputes are not uncommon issue in Nigeria, a vast amalgam of distinct ethnicities. Ebonyi state has had a fair share of this wars caused by boundary disputes, which have spanned through ages and claimed lives and properties worth millions of naira. Many instances abound like the Ezza/ Ezillo war; Agila and Ngbo, Amachi and Cross River boundary dispute; many other cases abound. Still nothing seems to be done about it.
The National Boundary Commission (NBC) on whom the onus of bringing about a lasting peace to these affected places are not doing much, as their constant procrastination in doing the needful has actually put too much lives on the line. What does it take to mark out boundaries, so that no one feels discriminated against? What other thing is the function of the NBC than to swing into action in situations like this? But many wars have raged on and many lives have been carelessly lost, still the body charged with the function is putting up lackadaisical attitude. Will it come to mark the boundaries when all those occupying these many places of unrest must have lost their lives due to the dispute?
One of the problems we have in this country is actually the trivialization of urgent matters that ought to have been taken seriously and also the gross irresponsibility of those set in charge of certain ministries so as to serve the people. This has led to poor output generally. The National Boundary Commission (NBC) should man up to their duty, so as to bring lasting peace to these many places gridlocked in the virulent web of unending boundary disputes, which have steeled the bones of the affected areas with fear. So that, at least, when they sleep, they can do so with two eyes closed.
The time to act is now, else it will be too late.