Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora, AESID has claimed that no fewer than 40 people have been killed during a clash between between the natives of Effium, and Effium indigenes of Ezza extraction in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the clash sparked off by the tussle over the leadership and control of Effium motor-park.
But, the association while condemning the act in a statement, signed by its president Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, alleged that the clash was politically motivated.
According to him, the attempts to unlawfully annex some federal Electoral wards by local government officials initiated the clash.
The President of AESID, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, however says the alleged attempt to annex some federal electoral wards by Local Government officials initiated the crisis, not a tribal clash.
He said: “Our preliminary findings have shown that contrary to the initial claims of the crisis being caused by a tussle over the leadership and control of Effium motor-park, the facts on 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.
“This platform is also 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 wherein they had 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.”
He added: “Documented evidences made available to AESID showed that the peculiarities of Effium community where 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.”
He claimed that Mr Odah and his agents including the government hadn’t acted fast enough to correct these 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” he added.
Mr Oluchukwu commends State 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, and requests the police to thoroughly investigate Mr Odah, who according to his knowledge and consent, Effium indigenes of Korri extraction had planned and secured weapons for the attacks.
He said that: “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.”
He added: “Rather, the Umahi government does any and everything possible to always shield him from the arms of the law at each point in time.”
He recalled in certain quarters, of the refusal of many Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction to follow the new APC voyage which may have also contributed to the devious plot to forcefully coerce people to opposition.
He said: “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”.
According to him, the arrests made should serve a permanent solution, and urgent investigation should be made to bring all those responsible for the mayhem to book.
He said: “The State government should therefore immediately prosecute all those found wanting in this mindless killing while the NPC should hasten up to correct the misguided errors it has made as a result of the political interests of some desperate politicians.”
Ambassador Oluchkwu therefore urges the government to provide the affected victims with basic necessities such as food and clothing’s, as well as compensate those with property lost.
He said: “Those whose houses, shops and businesses were also touched should be adequately compensated by the government to cushion the harsh effects occasioned by the crisis
“Finally our hearts are with the families, relatives, friends and well-wishers of the deceased, particularly the 15 music band youths who were caught in the cross-fire and killed while carrying out their routine business and killed in the process
He added: “AESID sincerely condoles with them as we urge public-spirited individuals to offer them any assistance that could reprieve them in their grieving conditions
“Let us learn to be tolerant to others, live in peace and harmony and above all; let public office holders not because of pecuniary political interests and affiliations touch the ancient landmarks that are binding our people together as one! You don’t attempt to strengthen the weak by weakening the strong and vice-versa.”