Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday met with the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Kelechi Igwe over the boundary dispute between the two neighboring communities of Ngbo in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi State and Agila, in Ado local government area of Benue State.
The meeting which held behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was attended by the officials of the National Boundary Commission, NBC.
This is as Governor Ortom has denied the insinuation that there is crisis between Benue and Taraba State governments over the Tiv/Jukun crisis.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor Ortom said the far-reaching decisions were taken on the matter with a view to putting a stop the reported killings in the area.
According to him, a demarcation exercise would soon be carried out by the federal government at the border area as part of the measures aimed at halting the protracted conflict.
He said, “We are also here with the acting Director General (DG) of National boundary commission and we had taken far-reaching decisions to ensure that we demarcate the boundary between these two states so that we can hold our people responsible.”
Ortom attributed the prevailing tension at the border to the activities of criminal elements operating in the affected areas, adding,” very soon the boundary commission would be coming out with a program that both Benue and Ebonyi will team up to provide the necessary logistics and security to ensure that the boundary is demarcated.”
On the Jukun/Tiv crisis, the Benue State Governor dismissed insinuations of a conflict between Benue and Taraba States, saying the untoward development was purely a Taraba affair between indigenes who are aboriginal residents of the area.
He said, “This is largely Tiv and Jukun in Taraba. I have Jukun in Benue state. We are not fighting.
“There were issues in the past and I decided to set up a judicial commission of enquiry which is still sitting to look at the remote and immediate causes of this strife so that we will find a lasting solution to it.
“This other one is more of a problem in Taraba, but because there are TIV people in Benue and we are talking about TIV people. So, each time people are displaying some run back to Benue so that’s the spirit of it.”
He expressed confidence in the Taraba State Governor, Dairus Joshua, saying that the governor has the capacity to come up with a permanent ceasefire to the conflict in the state.
He said, “I think that the governor of Taraba state is doing well. Recently they met and they agreed that there should be ceasefire even though I saw in the press that there were some issues with that peace agreement.
“But you know each time there are efforts to try to solve problems, criminal elements will come in and I think that the steps that the governor took by inviting two sides, both the TIV and the Jukum to sit together and find means on how they can resolve this matter is the best approach.
“And I believe that once that problem is sorted out in Taraba state we will not have anything in Benue State.” Nigeria News