The state’s governor, Samuel Ortom, ordered security operatives on Sunday to arrest those responsible for the killing of two pastors in Ochoro community in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State.
Moses Ijoko and Emmanuel Aleje, pastors with the Methodist Church in Ochoro, were shot dead by assailants on their way to the hospital on Tuesday, August 17.
Terver Akase, the governor’s chief press secretary, in a statement on Sunday, August 22, said Ortom condemned the murder of the pastors and called it unacceptable.
The Chairman of Konshisha Local Government and other stakeholders in the area were urged to ensure that the killers and their sponsors were brought to justice.
No matter who is involved, those undermining the State Government’s efforts to end the crisis between Konshisha and Oju will not escape justice.
A reaffirmation of the administration’s resolve not to surrender the State to criminals, he appeals to Benue’s people to provide timely and useful information to enable security agencies to succeed.
The governor also urged residents of the area to remain calm as arrangements for the demarcation of the boundary between Bonta and Ukpute have been finalized by the committee set up to facilitate the process.
An Igede person from Ochoro Community who spoke on anonymity told journalists that the two pastors were gruesomely murdered by Bonta boys as they were on their way to Oju Local Government for medical care.
They were shot and their motorcycles were stolen as they approached the hospital. The police were informed of the incident, but I am not sure if the police were able to reach the scene before burial.
James Jirgba, chairman of Konshisha Local Government Area, received a report while he was attending a meeting at Makurdi’s Government House that two people were on their way to the hospital.
“The crisis have been over for more than two weeks now but we heard that somebody from Igede who was coming from a journey dropped in Ukpute which is Igede area and strode into Tiv area but the people he met did not do anything to him. They kept him till dawn and I called the Oju chairman to tell the DPO to take him back to his people. People take advantage of this crisis to commit anything”, Jirgba said.
The report said two weeks ago, stakeholders from Konshisha and Oju gathered at Government House, Makurdi, and agreed to a ceasefire as well as the arrest of militia groups causing mayhem in the communities.
Late pastor Moses Ijoko