Members of Association of Igede Media Professionals (AIMPs) has commiserated with the Nigerian Army and the families of the officer and eleven soldiers slaughtered in cold blood by bandits in an unprovoked attack in and around Bonta area of Konshisha Local Government of Benue State.
The National president of Igede Media Professionals, EGENA Sunday Ode, in a statement released on Sunday, said: “it is a despicable crime and our hearts are with the military high command and the bereaved families of these gallant soldiers.
“As their bodies are committed to mother earth, we pray to God to give their loved ones the needed strength and grace to face tomorrow”,the statement further stressed.
The group also commend the Nigeria Army for the discipline and professionalism exhibited by its personnel in the on-going stabilisation campaign around Bonta despite the unnecessary provocation by these nefarious and heartless bandits.
”Given the high-scale banditry in the area as attested by the troops themselves, weapons in circulation and frequency of attacks on Ukpute and its environs, we would call for a thorough arms mop-up as well as tracking of the funders and procurers of these bandits. Such an extended operation is necessary for the peace and security of ordinary citizens in the area.”
In addition, the media Professionals used this opportunity to also call on the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff to as a matter of urgency establish a buffer military post between Ukpute and Bonta to further guarantee adequate security measure for the vulnerable and defenseless, stressing that a lesson must have been learnt by both parties including the Benue State government.
“We believe a lesson must have been learnt by the government of Benue State, and indeed, all parties to the Ukpute-Bonta dispute on the dangers of procrastination, indifference and prejudicial behaviour by those in government in the face of grave and recurring danger; dangers of expansionist and annihilationist ambitions by the more powerful neighbours; and contempt or disrespect for members of our armed forces,” Sunday EGENA Ode, President of Igede Media Professionals posited.
The group is optimistic that there is no alternative to good neighbourliness, peaceful co-existence, mutual recognition, and respect for constituted authority, especially, members of our armed forces that conduct themselves within the limits of the law.
In light of this, they urged the Benue State Goverment to do the needful by ensuring an unbiased and dispassionate demarcation of the area as documents or survey maps from archives confirmed by GPS have since reconfirmed the boundary.
“We however, urge the State Government to go beyond boundary demarcation by bringing development such as light to the beleaguered communities of Ukpute, Bonta and their environs as they belong to the forgotten parts of the state. Even the road that traverses the communities is unusable.
Perhaps, the Governor needs no reminding that he deployed construction equipment to that road only to withdraw them after he won the 2019 election without an inch of work done”, the statement further added.
The group similarly urged all the communities in the area, especially, Bonta and Ukpute, to embrace peace and to see themselves as collective victims of a non-challant or non-responsive government as they equally
urged the State Government to compliment the military stabilisation initiative by immediately commencing sensitization campaign (complete with hotlines) in the conflict area of the dangers of procuring or harboring bandits or promoting violence.