By Bright Nwogu
The Benue State Police Command says it is not aware of mass movements of people from Ugbokolo, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State following the death of four persons in a cult-related clash on Monday night.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene made the rebuttal in an interview with FREEDOM SUNRISE NEWS on Wednesday, while reacting to reports of people leaving the community.
It was said that fight started between Red and Black cult groups when the former allegedly killed a member of the Black Brotherhood, which led to a reprisal, killing four members of the red group.
The incident reportedly led to residents deserting the streets and town, while commercial activities were said to have been grounded, because of fear of rampaging cultists.
Anene, who confirmed the death of four persons, however said such reports of people leaving the town was not true.
“That’s not true. Nothing of such has happened. We are not aware of anybody leaving Ugbokolo Yes there was a cult clash and four persons were killed. It was a cult related clash, but it is under control now.
“The command has already deployed enough men to handle that situation. As at Tuesday 6am, more policemen were deployed to the community, it’s under control.”
Anene said though no arrest has been made, the command was investigating the incident.
“No arrest has been made yet.
On what the command is doing about the incident, Anene said “As at yesterday, more hands were deployed to the area to help curtail excesses being that it is a very wide area, more like a forest area. So, we sent more hands to help them. For now, the area is calm
On its call to the host community, the police PRO said “ We urge the community to give us information as to where the cultists or suspects are hiding, because they know, these people are their children, they did these things and they run away so they should tell us where they are hiding, so we would pick them up. We’re also assuring them that such incident will not happen again”
The police spokesperson did not, however reveal the identities of the victims. But it is believed that they may be students of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.
Ugbokolo and Cult-Related Killing
Ugbokolo, which is a district in Okpokwu local government area of the state is home to the Benue State Polytechnic (BENPOLY). Established in 1977 by the military governor of Benue State, Colonel Abdullahi Shelleng (1976–1978).
BENPOLY was originally known as the Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology. In 1983, the college’s Department of Agriculture of the College was merged with Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture. The school is approved as a state-owned polytechnic by the National Board for Technical Education.
BENPOLY aside its academic excellence is believed to be one of the hottest spots for cult related activities and killings over the years.
Several students have been reportedly killed in the most gruesome manner, associated with cultism. Others were reportedly forced to quit schooling after they refused joining one cult group or another.
Because of its closeness to Otukpo, the headquarters of Benue South (Idoma speaking area), some of the cultists are also reported to always run and take cover in the town after their “hits”.
Otukpo on its part, is also reported to have seen a lot of bloodbath following cult killings, with the 2016, 2017 as the most notable years.