N200m royalty triggers communal crisis in Ebonyi

By Agatha Eze

Currently, Ishiagu Community in Ivo Council Area of Ebonyi State is beclouded by crisis emanating from the royalty of two hundred million Naira (N200 million) promised by a mining company in the area.

Interests have continued amassing following the community leadership getting into boiling and perplexing for no one among the eagle-men in the area have agreed to bow down for the other to head them because of the royalty.

We have also gathered that the community is now into two factions with each led by a chairman claiming the authenticity of the one controlling the headship position.

Mr. John Okorie who is leading one of the factions said: "The problem was that the tenure of our community chairman has elapsed, because he was elected on August 2017, but he was trying to extend his tenure to 2022.

“No one challenges government. It is not as if the election was done in secret. Many honourable members were there, when it was done. That somebody boycott election, does it mean the people of the community will no longer live?

“We have our evidence here, that we have been collecting our royalties for three years now. 

“The young man that pulled out of the election has now collided with the outgoing chairman. They are from same kindred. They want to be eating us raw and continue to collect more of our royalties. 

“Yes, the problem is the two hundred million naira royalty. I will not say much about it because the money has not come out.

“Our main concerns, is our money and tenure of the outgoing chairman which elapsed this Month. 

“We are prepared for a fresh election and i assure you, we will beat them hands down."

Further, the former Chairman of the Community, Mr. Christopher Okoro added: “The main problem is that this outgoing chairman heard about the fresh agreement that stone miners should pay two hundred million naira to the host communities in Ebonyi. 

“And that’s why they want to extend their tenure so that, they will loot the community money. The two hundred million naira royalty is not yet out because the said company has not even signed the agreement with the community.

“They problem is how to conduct fresh election. They know that no one will support them. They have not done anything as a project in the community and that’s why they want to elongate their tenure and nobody is supporting them. All their plans were on how they will grab the money if it is released” he added.

Reacting, the alleged over stayed Chairman of the community, Mr Paulinus Oketa said: “When we did election, we have parallel elections. 

“My opponent did his own and i did mine. We went to court, and we spent one year plus. One day, God said we should do peace. 

“It became difficult for me to do anything for the community because two of us are laying claim to the position ruling the community at the same time."

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