From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Bothered by the increasing spate of armed banditry in the Sankera axis of Benue State, the Shitile people of Katsina-Ala local government area of the state have people resolved to interface and dialogue with the aggrieved youths in Tor-Donga to stop the killings, banditry and other criminal activities.

This came to the fore during a stakeholders meeting of Shitile people held at the Newcastle Events Center in Makurdi, the state capital last Sunday.

At the meeting, the Shitile stakeholders including traditional rulers, political, religious and opinion leaders promised that the needs/demands of the aggrieved youths will be identified during the meeting with them, after which the governor would be briefed.

While condemning the indiscriminate killings and criminal activities being perpetrated by militia groups in Katsina Ala and the entire Sankera land, the stakeholders planned to hold another Shitile stakeholders’ meeting on Monday April 5, 2021, during which a date for the peace meeting with the aggrieved youths in Tor-Donga would be fixed.

In a communique which was signed by Denen Azege, the Shitile people thanked Governor Samuel Ortom, for his efforts towards finding a lasting solution to the security challenges in their land.

“The meeting supported the governor’s decision not to withdraw soldiers but that the soldiers will no longer arrest or kill any of the the criminals, if they lay down their arms and stop the killings and other acts of terrorism and banditry.

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The stakeholders also agreed with the governor that if the demands of the boys are reasonable, government would look into their case with a view to bringing lasting peace to the area and the entire Benue State.

They also urged the Shitile people to show love for one another and be more united, irrespective of political party differences, so as to achieve the peace project even as they resolved to stop giving out false information but to trust one another and have faith in the peace mission.

Daily Sun reports that the slain Benue militia warlord, Terwase Akwaza alias Gana was a Shitile man from Gbishe community in Katsina-Ala Local Government area of the state.

It was also gathered that Gana’s loyalists have since taken up arms against the people in retaliation of the killing of their leader despite efforts by the state government to clamp down on their activities.

Those who attended the meeting include Benue State House of Assembly member representing Katsina-Ala Constituency, Hon Jonathan Agbidyeh, Rt. Hon. David Iho Mzenda Iho, Hon. Pawa Orlu Dickson, Hon. Jonathan Lahave, Amb. Chive Kaave, Dr. Emmanuel Sokpo, Executive Chairman Katsina-Ala local government area, Hon. Atera Alfred.

Others are Sen. Gabriel Suswam who was represented by Dr. Moses Ukeyima, Hon. Awuah Joseph, Hon. Iorpav Alfred, Hon. Terfa Ihindan, Hon. Mrs Vera Akua and Zaki John Kuji who is the Chairman Shitile Traditional council among others. Dr. Moses Ukeyima