By Andyson Iji Egbodo, James Ibechi & Ogi John
Agba, a new yam festival of the Igede people the world over will not be the same this year, if the security signals emanating from parts of Igede Kingdom are anything to go by.
Reports are rife that the Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom, has taken a proactive measure by ordering a security beef up in Oju and Obi areas of the state, one day to the Igede Agba cultural festival, following a tip off that herdsmen are planning to attacks the communities during the festival.
Checks by jamesibechi.com indicated that the governor’s proactive order has been been implemented.
The Igede Agba Festival that usually comes up on every first Ihigile market day of the month of September from time immemorial has become an established norm in the cultural life of Igede Kingdom.
Natives living in Diaspora travel from far and near to witness the annual occasion. With a few hours to the commencement of the festivities, our sources confirmed early hours of today (Thursday) that security checks by the authorities indicate that there seems to be fear of attack by Fulani Herdsmen on Igede people.
In a phone conversation with the Chairman of Oju LGC, Augustine Okwoche, he confirmed the detachment of soldiers and mobile policemen in a proactive measure this morning to the affected areas of Idelle and parts of Obi LGA on the order of Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
It is gathered that, though the looming threats are not based on a new conflict with the herdsmen, but around previous acrimonies between the indigenes and the herdsmen.
Obi LG Chairman, Peter Onche, could not be reached at the time of filing this report for comments but Adirahu Igede, His Royal Majesty, Oga Ero in a phone conversation with journalists confirmed the development but assured all Igede people to go about the festival without fear in spite of the heavy presence of soldiers and armed policemen.
There are indications that the usual grand finale, the get-together of the entire Igede People at the Oju LG Pavilion would be in a very low key this year.
That may not be unconnected to the security development.
Hon. Okwoche expressed gratitude to Ortom, for being proactive in the deployment of security agents to forestall any eventuality, Adirahu Igede, Ero, Onche and Rt. Hon. Nick Eworo for all their roles in making sure peace is not breached in the entire Igede Kingdom.