By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID), has called on the security agencies to probe Governor David Umahi and the chairman of the Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Clement Odah, over an alleged communal clash between the Effium and Effium indigenes of Ezza extraction, leading to the death of over 40 people.
President of the association, Paschal Oluchkwu, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, condemned the mayhem, alleged that it was politically motivated.
According to him, the facts on the ground actually prove that the attempt to unlawfully annex some federal electoral wards which originally belong to Ezza-Effium people of Ezza extraction to Wards of Effium indigenes of Korri extraction in the ongoing Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise by the National Population Commission (NPC)
“Further probe into the said action showed that the NPC officials were ostensibly misguided by agents of Ohaukwu Council Chairman, Barr. Clement Odah, and other stakeholders of Effium indigenes of Korri extraction.
“Documented evidence made available to AESID showed that the peculiarities of Effium community where Effium people of Ezza Ezekuna extraction or Ezza-Effium people constituted about 80% of the entire population of the community warranted the demarcation of the five electoral wards in the community with family/kindred labels or names instead of the normal physical or geographical boundaries by the Government of old Anambra State through her Edict No. 4 of 1990,” the AESID added.
The group also said that it aware of the complaints raised by Ezza stakeholders in its petition to the NPC against the actions of its EAD officials who were unfortunately misguided by the Local Government boss, Barr. Odah, his agents and co-conspirators.
According to the group, Ezza stakeholders cautioned that the acts of unlawfully annexing parts of the wards of Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction including the homes of some notable politicians, renowned academics and other prominent cum other natives of Ezza-Effium people’s homes to Effium people of Korri extraction was an open invitation to chaos.
“Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the said Odah and his agents including the government hadn’t acted fast to correct these unconscionable and inflammable annexations.
“Even the solemn prayers by the said Ezza stakeholders for a prompt and proper reversal of all parts of the wards of Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction otherwise known as Ezza-Effium people unlawfully annexed to Effium indigenous people’s wards were paid deaf ears to by the powers that be.
“We condemn this politically-motivated action meant not only to stir needless dusts but also to decimate the strengths of the most populous and peace-loving Ezza clan who has lived in peace with all its neighbours in the State be there in Ishiagu, Ukawu and Abaomege in Ebonyi South; Ezzaegu, Ogboji or Ezzillo communities in Ishielu LGA in the Central or in Effium in the north not until the last and present political dispensations.
“Whereas, we commend the new and ebullient State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba for the prompt action of arresting all those who are suspected to have had a hand in the Effium carnage.
“We wish to request that the police should get to the root of this crisis by thoroughly investigating the Council Chairman, Barr. Odah and his co-travellers in lieu of the current facts that are already in public domain particularly to the effect that his people (Effium indigenes of korri extraction) had even planned and secured weapons for the attacks with his knowledge and consent.
“Such act is worrisomely unbecoming of a public office holder who holds the sway as the Chief Security Officer of the Local Government Area. To this extent therefore, we also heap the blames on the door-steps of Governor Umahi who has continued to encourage and support the said Barr. Odah to slap, maim, attack and humiliate stakeholders and anyone who does not agree with his views.
“None of the sad incidences of mayhems reported against the said Clement Odah and his marauding band of cult-boys have ever been investigated and sanctioned by the State government since his appointment as a Council boss in 2015 and subsequently his election and re-election into the same office.
“Rather, the Umahi government does any and everything possible to always shield him from the arms of the law at each point in time.
“Also, the claims in certain quarters that the refusal of many Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction to follow the said Barr. Odah and his principal, Engr. Umahi to their new new APC voyage may have also contributed to the devious plot to forcefully coerce people in opposition to politically belong to the fold by virtue of the misguided delineation should not be swept under the carpet.
“The security agencies should investigate this as a matter of urgency and bring all those responsible for this mayhem to book. Of course, this platform is aware of Umahi’s use of majority of the Local Government Chairmen in the State to stir crisis among stakeholders and community leaders with some of them acting almost above the laws of the land.
“We know he gives them backings to perpetrate mayhems and cause unrests in their communities and LGAs so they could be emboldened to attack his political foes or opponents particularly in periods of elections and electioneering campaigns.
“This particular incident, we suspect, is obviously part of Umahi’s 2023 political game-plan!
“Unlike in the pasts, we wish to state that the reported arrest of some of the stakeholders should not be the usual smokescreen that would often yield no result or bring any permanent solution.”