‘Criminals Attacked Our Community Not Bassa-Gbagyi Clash’, Nasarawa Community Cries Out

The attack on Okudu village in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State was carried out by criminals and not a communal clash between the Bassa and Gbagyi people as reported in some quarters.

This was disclosed via a press release signed by Emmanuel Gbaji, the Chairman of the Bassa Cultural and Development Union (BCDU) a copy of which was obtained by Eggonnews.

Mr. Gbaji in the press release, attributed the attack to criminals who are opposed to the peace talks currently going on between the communities which aims to put to a halt hostilities that have lasted over three decades.

He said: “the social media is awash with reports of a purported Clash Between Gbagyi and Bassa Over Land at OKUDU. This report is both misleading and mischievous. We want to make it abundantly clear that THERE IS NO CLASH between Gbagyi and Bassa over any matter whatsoever.

“The Gbagyis are the closest cultural relatives of the Bassa and we have no history or record of conflict between us. What happened at Okudu was the work of criminals in which both Gbagyi and Bassa were victims” he said.

He went further to state: “Toto Local Government has been embroiled in crisis since 1986 with violent clashes of various categories rattling the peace and tranquility of the largely agrarian community. After over seven (7) circles of crisis lasting thirty-eight (38) years, with each circle involving a colossal loss of lives, destruction of property and wholesale displacement of persons, the Government of Nasarawa State in 2019, created a legal vehicle that would allow the warring communities to peacefully resolve their disputes. Discussions have commenced and age-old disputes are being examined and re-examined in an atmosphere of brotherly dialogue.

“Then out of the blue, the grapevine was abuzz with news of faceless militants hiding in our bushes and forests. While the security agencies were monitoring the situation, we were awakened by the sound of murderous gunfire at Okudu. This is undoubtedly the handiwork of the well known and well advertised opponents of the ongoing Peace Talks.”

He then re-assured the neighbours of the Bassa people of their commitment to the ongoing peace talks while also calling on the government of Nasarawa State to put more efforts towards resettling the displaced persons as according to him, their continuous displacement “has allowed criminals, bandits, kidnappers and murderous groups to hide in our now empty forests and villages.”

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