About 100 houses have been burnt down in Boku village in Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State, during a clash with Doko, a neighbouring village in the same council area.
The Boku/Dogo communal clash was traced to an age-long land dispute between the two communities.
Multiple sources said although the lingering crisis has been on for more than three decades, it turned violent on Wednesday.
As a result of the clash, 86 houses and valuables were burnt and two people killed in Boku village.
PREMIUM TIMES obtained some pictures of the deceased, Alkali Kolo and Ahmadu Yabata, but cannot publish because they are gory.
One of the affected houses belongs to the head of the community, Hussain Liman, whose car was also burnt.
However, while the community was yet to get over its ruins, another attack occurred on Friday morning and more houses were razed, residents told our correspondent.
After the renewed attack, more residents of Boku community, including Mr Liman, fled for their lives, seeking refuge at different locations while those seriously injured are currently receiving treatment at both the Kutigi and Bida general hospitals.
How it happened
Sources have told PREMIUM TIMES that the orgy of violence in the community on Wednesday and Friday followed several botched attempts to resolve the land dispute.
The last intervention was a meeting brokered by the Etsu Nupe and Chairman of Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, Yahaya Abubakar.
According to Mr Liman who was in attendance, Mr Abubakar later resolved that both communities should seek resolution in court.
“In the process of settling the issue, the emir asked them to settle between the two communities, over a week ago. They held several meetings together. They called us to the emir’s palace and said that they should go to court,” he told our reporter.
Narrating how the Wednesday clash erupted, Mr Liman said: “They (Dogo residents) came to Boku and threatened villagers on more than three occasions.
“The last one that happened (on Wednesday), they pretended as if they were going to a farm. When they went to the farm. They selected some people amongst themselves and they started by chasing rams and goats owned by Boku residents.”
He added that the mayhem began when Boku residents challenged those who caught the livestocks.
“They (Dogo people) approached them and started shooting guns. That was how they killed the two people. Several people were injured.”
A relative of the deceased, Dauda Kolo, who corroborated Mr Liman’s account, said those killed are his cousins.
“This communal crisis has started since the days of our fathers but the land belongs to us. When we exchanged wives, because of inlawship, we gave them some piece of land to farm.
“On Wednesday, in the morning, they came to the village and attacked two of my cousin brothers.”
According to him, police officers who visited the community took the corpses to the hospital for autopsy before they were buried on Thursday.
“On Wednesday, they set about 80 to 100 houses ablaze. Today, they almost burnt all the houses. Nobody can count the casualties,” Mr Kolo said about Friday’s attack.
PREMIUM TIMES was unable to speak to residents of Dogo community for their side of the story, at the time of this report.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the police in the state, Wasiu Abiodun, said “more policemen were deployed to the area and normalcy has been restored”.
Nevertheless, both Messrs Liman and Kolo have lamented the helpless state of the people despite the intervention of the police.
“Other several valuable items were also destroyed (on Friday) in the presence of security operatives. When that one happened, people of the village ran away. As I’m talking to you I’m in hiding. Because we are not safe. Nobody is safe,” said the village head.
“We only rely on God. We are hopeless. Nobody has taken serious action. Somebody is in uniform but they cannot protect you. They said they don’t have the authority to shoot anybody,” he added.