By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately deploy military personnel to Effium community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi state where over 40 persons have been killed.
The indigenes said to forestall further break down of law and order and wanton killing of innocent lives by a prepared armed militia that have held the area to ransom in the past 72 hours.
In a statement released Wednesday in Abuja to newsmen by its President, Amb. Paschal Oluchukwu, said if nothing is urgently done to restore peace and order in Effium community, the defenceless citizens may have no option than to take up their own arms and defend themselves and their ancestral homes.
According to the statement, the security agencies that had been deployed to the area may have been compromised by some political leaders, hence the reason for the latest attacks on harmless locals whose confidence to stay back in their ancestral homes had been boosted by the visit and meeting held by Governor Umahi yesterday.
“Again, while we strongly condemn these horrible attacks on defenceless Ebonyians, we urgently call on the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to immediately deploy military personnel to the area to forestall further break down of law and order and wanton killing of innocent lives by a prepared armed militia that have held the area to ransom in the past 72 hours and yet counting.
“As we commend the Ebonyi State Governor for visiting the area to meet with the warring parties, AESID still condemn the glaring indolent posture of the Umahi-led government towards holistically arresting the situation and returning peace to the troubled area. It is yet like the typical kids-glove approach of Umahi which is to stir public sentiments with open threats while turning mute in private.
“The Ebonyi state government must know that the eldest and most populous Ezza clan has endured too many attacks in the State beginning from the Ezza-Ezillo crises which claimed many lives of its citizens and those of other Ebonyians and Nigerians who were caught in the cross-fire under Elechi to this present onslaught against their people in Effium.
“Though we don’t pray the situation degenerates beyond its present escalation, but the state government in particular must have itself to blame if present trend persists and the Ezzas take measures to defend themselves from their attackers. We say so without bias because we strongly fear that the Umahi government hasn’t only failed to act swiftly but appear to be taking sides the attackers while pretending to be arresting and willing to prosecute them.
“The affected victims of Effium community, Ebonyians and indeed, the rest of the world can only take the government seriously if it acts promptly by amicably resolving the cries and restoring absolute peace with adequate compensation to the affected victims and their families!”
While narrating the causes of the crisis, Oluchukwu said “the bone of contention had been hinged on a dispute arising from a delineation and boundary demarcation exercise initiated by the National Population Commission whose officials were misguided to allocate some parts of Wigbeke wards which are comprised of Effiumites of Ezza-Ezzekuna extraction to indigenes of Korri extraction. Attempts to correct this human-made-error-for-political-gain.
“We are rudely saddened by the fresh attacks again on Effium natives of Ezza extraction which erupted just a few hours after Governor Umahi visited the area and held a meeting with political and traditional stakeholders while announcing the immediate suspension of all political appointees till further notice. With this latest onslaught on the great people of Ezza Ezekuna whose ancestors helped to wage war against invaders into the Effium territory, it is no longer in doubt that the Effiumites of Korri extraction is the actual provocateurs.
“AESID is also aware of reports that the fingered Local Government Chairman, Clement Odah who is still reportedly held in custody is still dishing out directives to the compromised security agents to help relocate his own brothers and sisters (Effiumites of Korri extraction) to the Abakaliki State capital while those of Ezza-Ezzekuna extraction are bloodily butchered like fowls.”