Lokoja — Worried by incessant communal clashes and breach of peace in Bagana and its environs, the people of Bagana community have called on Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, for his intervention save them from extermination.
This was contained in a petition written to the acting Inspector General of Police AIG Zone 8 and Kogi State government, which was signed by Mr. Ismaila Umar, 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 Local Government Area (OLGA) and bounded by Benue and Nasarawa States.
The petition alleged that heavily armed militias with sophisticated weapons would come to the community to kill, harass and intimidate the people on invitation of some persons come. It alleged that militias from Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State would attack their communities and cause the death of hundreds of people and destruction of properties worth millions of Naira while those who survive their brutal attacks would flee to neighbouring communitie.
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 and often force the people to pay revenue and taxes.
He noted that the petition became necessary to safeguard the people as over 50 Agatu militias from neighbouring villages in Benue State allegedly stormed the town on Sunday, June 20, 2021, at 1p.m. on 25 motorcycles and unleashed terror on the people without provocation.
It alleged 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 over six soldiers and policemen drafted to the area to keep peace has fallen to the bullets of the Agatu militias since 2014.
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 petitioner lamented that the barbaric murder of the Gago of Bagana, Mr. Audi Musa, who was violently abducted from his house on January 24, 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 had any of his biological lineage 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 the Etsu Eba Gana 1815-1850; Maman Mani Dangoje 1850-1879; Maman Usman 1879-1917 and Sarkin Nuhu 1917-1920. Others were Musa Jubrin 1920-1946; Etsu Muhammed Nda1946-1956; Nuhu Tanko 1957-1997 and 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 nowhere 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.
"We appeal that the Government shall establish Security station in the town, 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 N80 million and prevail on him to relocate his purported palace to where he claimed to be their chief."