In a heartwarming display of solidarity and cooperation, the National President of the Ufia Development Association (UDA), Chief Vincent Eje Uloko, spearheaded a peace meeting on June 19, 2022, at Ojije Utonkon, Ado Local Government Area of Benue State. The meeting aimed to foster peace and strengthen relations between Ufia and the neighbouring Akweya community.
Chief Uloko’s poignant message emphasised the urgency of peace as a means to unite the communities against common threats and safeguard one another from potential harm by unknown armed groups. Recent attacks on vulnerable communities in the middle belt area and other parts of the country underscore the need for solidarity and cooperation.
A significant highlight of the meeting was the amicable resolution of a recent claim made by Prof. Otokpa Agada, asserting that a part of Akweya land belonged to Ufia. The two communities came together, recognising the importance of dispelling misunderstandings and finding common ground to move forward in harmony.
Pastor Maurice Agor Adiga, the National President of Akpa Community Development Association, warmly welcomed the initiative for peace and collaboration in security matters. While acknowledging the positive steps taken, he also urged the meeting’s participants to address lingering issues, particularly the boundary dispute concerning a portion of Akweya claimed by Ufia, as mentioned in Prof. Agada’s book.
The peace meeting received an added boost with the presence of the Olong of Ufia, Chief Mathew Ogbu Ogede, who passionately emphasised the importance of love and urged the implementation of the discussed plans to ensure lasting peace.
Several community leaders, including Comrade Abbah Adaudu and Engineer Pius Oklo, voiced their support for the peace initiative and put forward constructive suggestions to address grievances and foster economic synergy between the communities.
The issue of defining land and air boundaries between the two communities found a champion in Professor Ted Anyebe, the Chairman of the Committee on Boundary Ogyoma Community Development Association. He emphasised the importance of finding a permanent solution to the Akweya/Utonkon issue, further strengthening the resolve for peaceful coexistence.
The meeting also shed light on misunderstandings between the youth of both communities. Comrade Emmanuel Egbe, the Leader of Ufia Youth, expressed concerns about alleged extortion by Ufia people passing through the Ugyoma Akpa community with the bodies of their deceased loved ones. However, Comrade Adaudu clarified the cultural practices followed by Ugyoma, aiming to dispel any misconceptions and bridge the gap between the two groups.
Numerous distinguished personalities attended the peace meeting, all united in their commitment to promoting peace and understanding.. Their shared optimism is a testament to the potential for a lasting resolution to the boundary dispute and the building of stronger ties between the communities of Ufia and Akweya.
As both communities take proactive steps towards reconciliation and cooperation, this peace meeting marks a hopeful turning point in their shared history. With empathy, understanding, and a commitment to peaceful coexistence, the Ufia and Akpa communities are paving the way for a brighter and more harmonious future together.