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Press Statement by The Coalition of Bassa Elites: The Pogrom in Kpereche
It was in the wee hours of 29th May 2018, the democracy day which is supposed to be a day of celebration for the Buhari led administration and the government of Yahaya Bello, the people’s governor and the champion of youth in government; the governor who has introduced reforms and has done so well to maintain peace and order in Kogi State, when the peace and tranquillity of Kpereche a Bassa village in Koton Karfe LGA of Kogi State was upset by the Egbura Koto militia who are known to be merchants of war, mayhem and blood-letting in furtherance and execution of the call for total war on every Bassa speaking people nation wide made by one Yahaya Toto, the spokesman of Egbura Youth Movement (EYM).
If not, what will one make of the unwarranted and unprovoked killings of innocent and peace loving Bassa people of Kpereche in Cold blood? There was no any existing reasons or misunderstanding between the Bassa people of Kpereche and the Egburas of Koton karfe except for the fact that they are Bassa speaking people.
This merchants of war came in a commando style by first sending an advance group who came as robbers to rob the villagers and to lure the people to their slaughtering field where they would be shot at sight. Most of the villagers came out in their numbers to find out what was happening when they heard shouts of “Thief! Thief!!” Not knowing that it was a strategy to lure them out of their houses to where they will be shot at sight by the Egbura koto militia who were shouting “They are all Bassa, kill them all…”
Another group came out from the bush with all sorts of weapons, unknown to the Bassa people as they were being killed. In the pogrom, thirteen (13) Bassa people including children lost their lives, many injured and many still missing in the pandemonium.
There is no monopoly of crisis, the Bassa people are not cowards and will never tolerate this kind of massacre and madness again in whatever guise. Crisis is like a wild fire, you may start it but can never tell to what extent it can go.
This got to stop in other not to bring a reprisal and a repeat of Ife/ Modakeke crisis in Bassa and Egbura communities of Kogi, Nasarawa and FCT in the North Central Region. Nigeria is already soaked with a lot of crises and blood letting. Therefore, we are calling the government of these two states of Kogi, and Nasarawa to quickly look into this matter and put a stop to this heinous crises going on in these two states.
We also call on the FCT minister to be proactive and provide protection for the Bassa populace in the FCT to avoid a spread of the crisis knowing fully well that there are a lot of indigenous Bassa people who can be a target of this Egbura militia on the killing spree against the Bassa people. About a fortnight ago we received news also of how this same Egbura militia attacked the Bassa community of Atako in Abaji Area Council of Abuja and another Bassa village within the FCT.
The child that refuse his mother to sleep should be ready to have sleepless night.
We call on the government at all levels wade into this crisis immediately.
We do not want to get to a point where our people would have to resort to protecting themselves if the government fails in their constitutional mandate to protect it’s citizens.
1. We are calling on the indefatigable governor of Kogi State, his Excellency Alh Yahaya Bello to as a matter of necessity/urgency expand the ongoing panel of enquiries to include their findings on the remote and immediate causes of the Bassa / Egbura communal crisis in Kpereche, Kogi L.G.A for lasting peace to reign in the area.
2. We are calling on the Ohimege of Igu and chairman Koton karfe LGA Traditional Council to as matter of urgency call for the meeting of all the traditional rulers and stakeholders in the area with a view to putting necessary measures place for end to the mindless killings of the Bassa people in the area. A stitch in time saves nice!
3. We are also calling on the government of Kogi, Nasarawa States and the FCT administration to as a matter of urgency set up a joint patrol team and a security committee comprising of Bassa and Egbura representatives and the Bassa and Egbura Royal Fathers from this three areas to meet and discuss modalities of calling their people to order before it is too late.
4. We are also calling on the Nigerian military to come to the rescue of Bassas in the hands of this Egbura militia before it gets to a sorry state.
– S. Z. Gbaje Esq.
Chairman, Coalition of Bassa Elites
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