Governor warns over Ebonyi, Cross River communal clash

Gov Umahi commiserating with the victims

The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has condemned the violent conflict between border communities in the state and Cross River State that has claimed many lives and left properties in ruin.

The governor spoke on Tuesday during an assessment visit to Azuofia-Edda in Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state. The community has been at conflict with the neighbouring Obubra community in Cross River State.

Mr. Umahi alleged that carnage was being meted on the people of the state by border communities in Cross River State.

He said similar attacks had occurred in Izzi and Ikwo local government areas.

He warned that the government and people of the state would not fold their arms and watch residents being slaughtered by their neighbours.

“This is man’s inhumanity to man. It is disheartening that this kind of thing will be happening in our society; it’s so shocking”, the governor said.

A destroyed bus
A destroyed bus

“These same people pass through our land to conduct their business. We have been very nice to them and I will not blame our people for not retaliating, vengeance belongs to God. But I am so sad that people will move from one house to the other to commit this kind of carnage.

“It is not an attempt by one community, it is something that was calculated and planned by committee of communities to unleash this evil on our people.

“The root cause of the crisis is very funny, we have security agencies in our state who know very well we don’t bury people without human heads and our people have offered olive branch and said let us discuss this. But when people are jobless, have nothing doing than to drink ogogoro (local gin), they can always ignite this kind of crisis, they could commit that evil by themselves to have an excuse to do what they have done.

“This is capable of breeding civil war between the two states. So let me warn that enough is enough. We have this same carnage in Izzi axis, we have this same evil at Item-Amegu axis. But today as Ebonyi people, we are saying enough is enough. Izzi is a very large clan, very large. Izzi man is capable of defending himself, Ebonyi people are capable of defending themselves. So this message must get to our neighbours, under my watch no Ebonyi man will be slaughtered again, we will not allow that to happen”.

A destroyed house
A destroyed house

He commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, for his timely intervention in the crisis.

“I spoke to the acting president a few days back and I commend him for his commitment and support by sending men of the military and other security agencies to the area to restore peace”.

Earlier, the Chairman of Abakaliki Local Government Area, Peter Nwaogbaga, said the crisis began after the people of Obubra accused the people of Azuofia Edda of killing and beheading one Eshaya, a commercial motorcyclist.

He said the man was accosted on January 10 near the Obubra village by unknown gunmen suspected to be cultists who killed him while his female passenger was not harmed.

“Information got to me on 11th January and I initiated peace talks. We had agreed to meet on 14th in Abakaliki after initial talks with leaders of both sides on 13th, but they struck at 4 a.m. The invasion led to killing of people, burning of houses and destruction of properties running into millions of naira.”

GOC Nkwegu cantonment Abakaliki, CP Ebonyi state, Titus Lamorde, DEP Gov Kelechi Igwe, Gov Dave Umahi, Chairman Abakaliki LGA, Mr Nwaogbaga and Mrs Maria Ngaji at the ceremony
GOC Nkwegu cantonment Abakaliki, CP Ebonyi state, Titus Lamorde, DEP Gov Kelechi Igwe, Gov Dave Umahi, Chairman Abakaliki LGA, Mr Nwaogbaga and Mrs Maria Ngaji at the ceremony

The marauders, he said, beheaded three men while three others were kidnapped and another man shot to death.

“The displaced persons are currently taking refuge at Nwida Primary school”.

The state Commissioner of Police, Titus Lamorde, assured that security agencies would stay in the community to ensure that the crisis was not reignited.

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