By Jonathan Ugbal
Over a decade after the Bette-Tiv war which saw several lives lost with attendant destruction of farmlands and properties, a directive by the Police and NSCDC in Obudu nearly caused another war again Thursday last week, CrossRiverWatch sources reveal.
“The Police and the NSCDC carried their vans and told us to relax and not panic that the Tiv people in neighboring Benue state were chasing the Fulanis and herdsmen who had destroyed their farms, not us and that we should be at rest only to discover that our women who were unaware of the development narrowly escaped the encroaching armed Tiv people who had begun destroying farmlands belonging to Bette people” says a youth leader who does not want his name mentioned.
CrossRiverWatch also gathered that this was the culmination of weeks of ‘eyeballing’ by the Tiv and the Bette people.
Sources say youths and elders took their weapons and went to confront the Tivs and after a spar there was no casualty was reported following the alleged retreat of the Tivs.
But the Bette people were said to have returned home to discover schools closed early with students of the Federal College of Education running for safety after seeing an armed group passing near the college gate.
“I ran for my dear life, ah you never know who is who, the ones I saw numbered around 20 and though they were holding small guns, a friend told me it was because they had hidden the bigger ones in the bags they were carrying so people don’t get scared” said Fatima Adaoga (not actual name) a degree program student.
However, one Mr. Ititim who is popularly referred to as “Co Worker” is said to have been held captive by the Tiv for some time after heading into the bush to join others in confronting the Tiv only to discover that others had retreated via another route and upon realising others may have retreated found himself surrounded by 4 Tiv natives who after a brief face off dropped his weapon.
According to family sources, Ititim who lives in the town (location withheld) was beaten by some of his captives while a debate on whether he should be held as a war prisoner ensued.
He was later freed when according to sources, two of his captives secretly divulged his location to men of the Nigeria Police Force stationed close to FCE Obudu who launched a rescue operation for him.
When CrossRiverWatch visited the Obudu divisional headquarters of the NPF along ranch road, only a few staff were on duty with the DPO not available as a source said men had been deployed to ensure the wedding ceremony of governor Ben Ayade’s Chief of Staff, Martin Orim is held successfully without any security incidence.
Calm has since returned to town as people now go about their daily activities with no trace of a looming war or face off between the Tiv and Bette.