Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday expressed sadness over the unfortunate demise of some Ebonyi people following the outbreak of communal clashes in some parts of the state.
He lamented the development and called on leaders of the affected communities to give peace a chance.
The governor stated this in Abakaliki during a stakeholder meeting with stakeholders from three local government areas where some of the killings have taken place recently.
They include Enyibichiri in Abakaliki local government area, Echie Alike in Ikwo local government area and Umuogodoakpu and Ukwuagba communities in Ohaukwu local government area.
Enyibichiri and Echie Alike have been having interactable boundary dispute for decades.
The dispute re-ignited last week with the killing of about 8 persons, six of whom were members of the same family as they were burnt to death in a bus while returning from a matriculation ceremony of their son.
Ebonyi boundary dispute claims infant, 7 others Umuogodoakpu and Ukwuagba communities have been having a boundary dispute with Agila community in Ado local government area of Benue state which over the years have claimed many lives.
The crisis also re-ignited last week with the burning of houses in Ukwuagba and alleged killing of some persons in Umuogodoakpu. Umahi had to cut short his vacation because of the outbreak of hostilities in the three local government areas.
He, however, accused some stakeholders from the communities of fuelling the crisis.
“If there is any further aggression against the Agila people that will result to our people being killed, you will present yourself for arrest and prosecution immediately.
“If the chairman of a community is not able to protect the lives of his people, then he is not worthy to be the chairman. He should resign or I sack him whether it is constitutional or not constitutional is immaterial to me. What is important is the lives of Ebonyi people and the constitution that we swore to uphold.” talks about the lives and welfare of the people.”
“So, if you were elected you in error and you cannot protect the lives of the people, it means you are not capable”, the governor said.
“The Ohaukwu people in Agila are the aggressors and what is happening is that it is the problem of sabotage from the leaders in Ohaukwu local government” “I am told there is a security committee the Chairman removed and another security committee he has inaugurated. And so the other people will go and throw stones on Agila side and give them information on how to kill the Ohaukwu people”.
“ We are placing the security of the place on the hands of the leaders and they will sign an undertaking with the Deputy Governor that if there is any further aggression against the Agila people that will result to our people being killed, they will present themselves for arrest and prosecution immediately” He expressed sadness at the state of killings recorded while he was away on vacation.
“I feel sad about the man they butchered in Amasiri, I heard of the three people killed in Nwida market, then I heard about the two people stabbed to death at Onicha Igboeze. People from Aninri local government area of Enugu state came to marry in Onicha Igboeze and due to little misunderstanding, they were killed”.
“I also heard about the Benue problem and I read online where the Deputy Governor threatened to suspend government officials, I was encouraged by that. Then, lastly this ugly incident of roasting six persons including a woman and a small child.
I am told this afternoon that the six people are from one family in Ikwo. Then I am told that there are other three people that are also killed on a motorcycle which means that I don’t really have all the figures”, he said.
The governor later went into a closed-door meeting with the Enyibichiri and Alike communities stakeholders.