Properties worth millions are in ruins as the popular Oju Market in Oju Local Government of Benue State is currently under fire attack, a witness has told FIJ.
The source of the tragedy is said to be a land tussle between Ukpa and Ibilla clans, which started brewing on Thursday morning after the state Urban Development Board began demarcation of lands within the local government, including the market.
“Some people from the Ukpa clan burgled a shop belonging to Ibilla clan. Shops believed to be owned by someone from the Ukpa Clan were thereafter set on fire today in retaliation until the entire market got affected,” a victim, who would prefer not to be named, stated.
Counting personal losses from the incident, Daniel Okike, an indigene of Ebonyi State and wholesale provisions seller, said his goods that have now turned into ashes cost more than N6 million.
“This attack is costing us, the visitors, all our investment in Benue,” he said.
He was still on the phone with FIJ when he took to his heels, panting and saying he was ducking his head while stones were being indiscriminately thrown in his direction.
This attack also coincided with the time Shaibu Dauda just stocked up his shops for building material sales. Now, all have vanished in a matter of hours.
“Not a single thing is left,” he lamented, adding that his house near the market was also torched.
FIJ gathered that when some of the affected traders contacted Clement Onaa, the local government chairman, he promised to contact the Fire Service but several hours after, no fire fighter has been sighted in and around the market reached but to no avail.
Soldiers are, however, at the scene trying to restore peace.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.