The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has condemned the renewed communal clashes between the people of Enyibichiri, Izzi in Abakaliki local government area and Echialike, Ikwo, Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State over a protracted land dispute, demanding an end to the hostility.
The Ebonyi indigenes also condemned in totality, the abduction of some Izzi children by fighters alleged to be from the Echi-Alike area.
In a statement released to journalists on Sunday in Abuja by AESID president worldwide, Amb. Paschal Oluchukwu, he expressed concerns over the attacks on lives and property by natives of the two communities, who he said have remained peaceful and peace-loving brothers of the same Ekumenyi progenitor.
“Though we had condemned this renewed hostilities, we find this latest news of abduction of under-aged children most perturbing. As parents, we cannot imagine how traumatized their wards and parents must have been since the ugly news of their abduction broke.
“It is a common knowledge therefore that the anger over the latest development on the crisis must have necessitated the reported attacks on Ikwo natives even in the Abakaliki capital city and the heightening apprehension over reprisal attacks that have since pervaded the two popular clans.
“As at the last count, we scooped that some prominent Ikwo natives have deserted the capital city to some other parts of the region and the country while those who may not afford the luxury of travelling that far have relocated to their Ikwo communities.
“AESID is worried and tempted to again, demand that the world must blame Umahi’s reprehensible laxity for not nipping this ugly incident in the bud not only as the Chief Security Officer of the State but also as one who is known for playing politics with every damn affair or issue in the state.
“We, therefore, hope and challenge the governor who has always threatened to incite wars against brothers as part of his political strategies to deal with his opponents and those he consider enemies, to come out boldly and deny the fingers pointing at him that it is possible he may have deployed his usual style of cutting the trees in the bush and at the same time rushing out of the road to ask; who is behind the wood-cutting in the bush?
“We feel that if this is not what we think it is: dealing with the opposition by other means, why has the Governor been reportedly threatening some PDP Lawmakers and other stakeholders of the party arrested to either declare for the APC or remain in detention? Some of them like the House of Assembly Majority leader, Engr. Humphrey Nwuruku who had been held in detention over the crises for several days, we authoritatively learnt have evidence of a chat message from the governor and his allies giving his defection to the APC as a condition for his release from detention,” Oluchukwu said.
While wondering how a once-peaceful state has become a spectacle of communal wars since Umahi came to power in 2015, the group said the situation was getting worse since January 22, 2021 when the Effium killings started.
“From attacks between indigenous Effium natives Versus Ezza-Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi North to Iyionu in Ishielu in Ebonyi Central and Ikwo Versus Izzi in the same Central Senatorial zone to Ishinkwo Ukawu versus Abaomege (who are still Ekumenyi brothers) in Ebonyi South, is it not reasonable to suspect that these could all be part of the desperate antics of Governor Umahi to make sure that the Umuekumenyi brothers does not have a common voice when they go into elections in 2023?
“Already, some political pundits have also wondered why it is Ikwo which has the largest political wards in the State with as much as 20 political wards of any LGA in the State and the Izzi that is one of the clans with largest number of voters that would suddenly be up in arms against one another. When will Umahi return our beloved state to the peaceful path he met it and end these persistent bloodsheds?
“We conclude by demanding the immediate release of the reportedly abducted kids and asking leaders of thoughts from Umuekumenyi to convoke an extraordinary, apolitical stakeholders meeting which shall involve all youths and key stakeholders to address these challenges and embrace peaceful co-existence among one another. We feel they would be the greatest losers to go into any form of war with each other when it is even now that they need each other most.
“They should therefore prove their enemies and traducers wrong by not only amicably resolving this dispute but ensure that going forward, they would be no love lost between and among brothers of the same Ekumenyi progenitor. This, AESID believes is the best way to go for any meaningful development to be initiated and sustained in their local communities,” he added.