Against the backdrop of recurring breach of peace in Bagana and its environs, the indigenous people have called on Kogi state governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello to as a matter of urgency wade into the crisis to save them from extermination.
In a petition written to the acting Inspector General of Police AIG zone, 8 , and Kogi state government, signed by Ismaila Umar on behalf of the communities and made available to Journalists in Lokoja, urged the Governor to use his good office to rescue the town from the land grabbers, allegedly using militiamen to kill and destroy the properties of the people.
Bagana is a riverine Community located on the Northern part of Omala LGA and bounded by Benue and Nasarawa states.
The petition alleged that the militias who are often heavily armed with sophisticated weapons and on the invitation of some persons come to the community to kill, harrass and intimidate the people.
It added that on many occasion, the militias who were believed to have come from Agatu Local Government Area of Benue state have attacked the communities resulting to the death of hundreds of people, properties worth millions of naira destroyed even as survivors had fled the town neighbouring communities and contiguous states.
The petitioners alleged that the militias are being used by one Mr. Salifu Anyebe , who claimed to be the chief of Otutubatu, a village of about seven kilometres away from Bagana often forced the people to pay revenue and taxes to their paymaster.
He noted that the petition became necessary to safeguard the people as over 50 Agatu militias from neighbouring villages in Benue state stormed the town on Sunday 20 th June, 2021 at 1pm on 25 motorcycles and unleashed terror on the people without provocation.
It added that the militias went straight to the house of the said chief to receive his blessing before carrying out their sinister motives.
Umar alleged that since 2014, when the militias started to unleash terror on the communities, apart from looting and killing of the indigenous people, he said over six soldiers and policemen drafted to the area to keep peace also fell to the bullets of the Agatu militias
He added that apart from the recent attack in which over four persons lost the lives , series of coordinated attacks took place on December 14, 2014 and April 8″ 2019 leading to death of hundreds and millions of properties destroyed.
The petition lamented at the barbaric murder of the Gago of Bagana Alhaji Audi Musa who was violently abducted from his house on 24 January 2017, tied him to their motorcycle and taken to unknown destination whose corpse has not been found till today.
According to him, “The said Salifu Anyebe was never a chief of Bagana, nor any of his biological lineage had ever been chief of Bagana and the village he claimed to be the chief.
” From 1815 to 2017, those who had ruled Bagana as Gago include, Etsu Eba Gana 1815-1850 ,Maman Mani Dangoje 1850-1879 , Maman Usman 1879-1917, others were ; Sarkin Nuhu 1917-1920, Musa Jubrin 1920-1946, Etsu Muhammed Nda1946-1956, Nuhu Tanko 1957-1997 and Alhaji Audi Musa 1999–2017 . None of the biological parents of Salifu Anyebe had neither lived in Bagana nor ruled Bagana in whatever guise.
” When a district was created for Bagana ,Ogah Onu Ife Mr Alih Haruna became the traditional ruler and the District Head. So we wonder how he Salifu Anyebe from no where started to lord himself on the people for the sole aim of taking over the collection of revenues and taxes meant for the government to himself using armed Agatu milias as his revenue collectors.
While appealing to the Government to establish Security station in the town, should institute high power investigation panel to ascertain and recover all revenues and taxes he has so far collected for himself , which is not less than Eighty million naira, (80M) and prevail on him to relocate his purported palace to where he claimed to be their chief.
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