In the Ugondu community of Makurdi LGA, Benue State, angry youths reportedly launched an attack on the convoy of Governor Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia on Wednesday.
The protest was in response to plans to bury Engr. Michael Vaatia, the proprietor of Vaatia College, within the school premises located in their community.
The governor had visited Vaatia College to assess preparations for the burial of the deceased proprietor. However, the youths from the Ugondu community pelted the governor’s convoy with stones, expressing their discontent. The police intervened and arrested six of the protesting youths for their involvement in throwing objects at the governor’s convoy.
During the incident, the angry youths reportedly invaded the school and destroyed the grave. They disrupted the proceedings while the governor was addressing community leaders at the school, with some of his entourage becoming trapped outside as security attempted to prevent the youths from accessing the premises. The youths allegedly fired gunshots into the air, but they were eventually overpowered by the arrival of the police special unit, Operation Zenda, resulting in several arrests.
Governor Alia, in his address to the community leaders, including former Senator Fred Orti, retired Permanent Secretary Akange Audu, and local traditional rulers, cautioned against actions that could lead to chaos and disunity in the state. He emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and highlighted his efforts in promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities for all tribes in the state.
The governor also assured the students on campus of their safety during and after the burial. He directed the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations to ensure peace during the wake-keep and burial scheduled for Thursday. Efforts were underway to reconstruct the damaged grave by the irate Ugondu youths ahead of the interment of the deceased proprietor.