The umbrella body of Ebonyi State indigenes in Abuja, Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora, AESID, has attributed the recent killings in Effium community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state to the discovery of mineral deposits in the area.
AESID President, Ambassador, Paschal Oluchukwu, in a statement on Friday accused certain individuals of masterminding the killings, saying: “the discovery of mineral deposits in the area is the actual cause of the lingering conflict in the once peaceful communities.”
The statement further accused a billionaire from Anambra State of instigating the Korri natives against the Effium and the Ezzas in the disturbing communal clashes and the attendant loss of lives and property.
He said: “Recall that we had always raised the alarm and condemned the ongoing carnage in Effium which first started on January 22nd this year.
“So far, the uncountable number of souls, particularly of Ezza descent, have been lost to the violent attacks which we have also consistently blamed on the Ebonyi State government led by Governor David Nweze Umahi for his inability to show leadership and live up to his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens as canvassed in the Nigerian constitution.
“However, we have now unravelled the actual reason the Ebonyi State government is grandstanding rather than bringing the sponsors of the killings to book.
“It has come to the notice of AESID that the discovery of some mineral deposits such as lead, Tin, Zinc and some deposits of crude oil is the main reason the Korri natives sponsored and believably backed by the State government are hellbent on wiping out the rest of other dwellers in Effium and the Ezzas who have the highest population from the area.”
The AESID, however, maintained that it has no personal scores to settle with any businessman mining “God’s given mineral deposits in any land so long as it meets the requirements of the law and a government, in turn, giving support for such exploration to be carried out.
“AESID is miffed by the insidiously desperate attempts to favour one side against the other and perpetrate heinous violent crimes against those it feels could be an obstacle or opposition to its planned forceful and secret mining activities in Effium. This is insane and downrightly condemnable and we so do!
“The said Billionaire businessman, whose firm is said to be interested in the mining operations should know better how the law provides for corporate institutions interested in tapping mineral resources in a land or community should best approach is to avoid clandestine moves that could endanger lives and property as is currently the case in Effium.”
The statement tasked the state government to come out open and clear the air and assure the people of Effium of their safety.
“We, therefore, insist that Governor Umahi must act by ordering the arrest and prosecution of those allegedly mentioned in this crime.
“The attempts to clamp down, arrest and detain some Ezza stakeholders for voicing out their outrage over these dastardly attacks including the detention of a member, representing Ezza South Constituency in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Chris Usulor by the DSS is highly condemned by this body.”
The statement also described as a joke the declaration of AESID President Paschal Oluchukwu as a wanted person in the state.