The Police Command in Ebonyi State on Sunday confirmed the death of eight persons in Ukwagba, Mgbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, by suspected attackers from Agila in Benue State.
However, officials of the state government believe otherwise and blame stakeholders in the area for the situation.
DSP Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer, told News Agency of Nigeria that in the attack which occurred on Saturday, four of the victims were beheaded.
She said: “The state Commissioner of Police, Awosola Awotinde, top police officers and the Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, rushed to the scene on receiving information on the incident.
“We were informed by the people that the attackers came from neighbouring Agila community of Benue as they also burnt six houses and killed 20 goats.” The PPRO gave the names of the beheaded victims as James Aleke, 55; Innocent Agbo, 65; Chukwu Enwe, 46; and Livinus Idoko, 70.
Odah said: “The victims whose bodies were still intact are Ngozi Idenyi, 32, Jonathan Onwe, 10, Ify Aleke, 51, and Susanna Ogba, 54, while Okeh Nwankwo, 53, is currently hospitalised.
“The CP urged the people to remain calm and avoid undertaking reprisal attacks as the command will ensure that peace is restored in the area.”
Odah urged the Federal Government to intervene in the matter, saying the situation had deteriorated seriously.
She also called on both state governments to re-double efforts to permanently tackle the issue.
She said: “The attack was last witnessed on Aug.27 when two persons were killed in the community.’’
The state Governor, David Umahi, during a visit to the area on Sunday, however, criticised stakeholders in the area for allowing the killings to continue.
Umahi, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, said it was saddening to see six past chairmen of the council hailed from the area likewise Dr Sam Egwu, the first civilian governor of the state and current senator representing Ebonyi North.
He said: “You should know the people causing trouble in your domains as the traditional rulers should be able to identify those fomenting trouble in the area.
“We are tired of the sentiments coming from this council but seek action because some people wrote undertaking to the state government, to ensure peace.”
He directed that all the people who signed the undertaking for the government must produce the perpetrators as they agreed to be held responsible if such event occurred.
Clement Odah, Chairman of the council, narrated his version of the incident and blamed those that were not happy with his administration for the killings.