NEWS DIGEST – Ebonyi government has said it will take stiffer measures to deal with the protracted inter-communal and boundary clashes in Ohaukwu Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
Deputy Gov. Kelechi Igwe said this on Thursday night when he visited Umuogodoakpu and Ukwuagba communities involved in protracted boundary disputes with the AgiIa people of Benue.
He said that part of the measures would include the removal of political appointees from the area, should the clashes persist.
Igwe said that the clashes between the communities in the council had made it difficult for government to ascertain whether the attacks were coming from Agila or trouble makers in the affected communities.
He said: “It is the rat which dwells inside a house that informs the one in the bush of the presence of a fish in the house.
“Also, when the corpse of someone else is being conveyed, it will seem like a log of wood.
“People are playing politics and making economic gains from these clashes, shouting: Benue; Cross River people are approaching!
“They should realise that human lives are involved.”
The deputy governor directed the Chairman of the council, Chief Clement Odaa, to convene a meeting of all the political office holders from the area on Friday.
“The meeting should also involve presidents of all town unions in the council and I am expecting a report or resolutions from it on Saturday.
“The report should also contain the list of all appointees at the meeting and anyone who fails to attend willl be seen as the problem of the people.
“I do not want to hear any gunshot from this council again and if it occurs, I will recommend to the governor to suspend all political appointees from this council.
“They will be replaced immediately with those who are capable of protecting the people,” Igwe said.
He opined that the number of political office holders from the area was capable of ensuring adequate protection for the people.
He said that the present administration had visited the area several times since it assumed office in 2015 to commiserate with the people over the repeated clashes.
He said: “Ebonyi government is in touch with its Benue counterpart over the issue and it has shown concern and desire to permanently end the crisis.
“After one of the recent disturbances, the Benue deputy governor led a delegation to Ebonyi to commiserate with our people and even donated N2 million to assist the victims.”
In a brief remark, the council chairman thanked the deputy governor for the visit, saying that it had assured the people that the state government was concerned over their plight.
“The attack on the Ukwuagba community is unprecedented because the attackers crossed the disputed land and buffer zone to attack and destroy houses.
“We are restraining our people from carrying out reprisal attacks as directed by the government because we believe in its capacity to protect us,” Odaa said.
Also, Chief Eze Nweze, a community leader, called for the deployment of more security operatives to the area to forestall future attacks. (NAN)