Effium/Ezza Effium Crisis: Group condemns govt approach to return peace


A group which identified itself as Ebonyi Resonance, has strongly condemned what it described as the weak intervention of Ebonyi State government in the brewing communal crisis between the people of  Ezza-Effium and Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

The group further faulted what it termed as a kid-glove approach the Ebonyi State government had deployed in resolving the lingering crisis that has caused the death of many people and property worth millions of naira, destroyed in the area.

In a press statement released to newsmen in Abakaliki on Friday by the Group which was signed by the National Chairman, Evangelist Justus Nkamah and the National Secretary, Mr. Bethran Ojukwu, it noted that the continual stay in office by the Ohaukwu Local Government Council Chairman, Barr. Clement Odah was an indication that Governor David Umahi was not bothered in anyway, by the on-going massive killings of Ebonyi people as a result of the crisis. 

Ebonyi Resonance however, wondered why Governor Umahi who had publicly accused Odah and Awo of being the masterminds of the crisis would still allow them to be moving about and enjoying the paraphernalia of their offices while the lives of innocent people are being wasted in Effium Community, as a result of their inactions.

"We have observed with dismay the lingering communal crisis between Ezza-Effium and Effium people which has unfortunately led to the death of hundreds of people and destruction of property worth millions of naira.

"While we frown at the development, we wish to strongly condemn the weak intervention of Ebonyi State government under the leadership of Governor David Umahi in the matter. 

"The kid-glove approach the government has deployed in handling the matter is not only worrisome, but suspicious. 

"How could a government that has the primary responsibility of securing the lives of her citizens watch them being slaughtered without doing nothing?

"We recall that when Governor Umahi visited Effium Community at the wake of the crisis, he vowed to  arrest and prosecute anybody found to have a hand in the crisis.

"Regrettably, the same Governor Umahi who openly and pointedly accused the Ohaukwu Council Chairman, Barrister Clement Odah and the member representing Ohaukwu North Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Awo of being the masterminds of the carnage, rather than arresting and prosecuting them, now dines and wines with them, while innocent lives are being wasted by warlords in Effium community", the statement reads in part.  

In the same vein, the Ebonyi Resonance in the statement particularly accused Mr. Clement Odah of using the Ohaukwu Council fund to promote and sponsor the killings of innocent people in the same Ohaukwu and called on Governor Umahi to prove that he was not an interested party in the matter by rearresting Odah for prosecution.

"If Governor Umahi truly wants to prove that he is not an interested party in the crisis as being alleged in some quarters, he should fulfill his promise of officially reporting Clement Odah and Chinedu Awo to the State House of Assembly for necessary actions. 

"Two of them need to be suspended immediately or removed from their respective political offices and be made to face trial for their involvement in the bloody crisis. 

"This is even more so, because information at our disposal shows that Mr. Odah has been using the Ohaukwu Council fund to finance the killings and destruction of property currently going-on in the area. 

"We also received intelligence reports of how Mr. Odah is using the Council fund to hire mercenaries from different states of the country, including herdsmen to promote the killings in the area.

"We wish to use this medium to call on the Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission (EFCC) to as a matter of urgency, beam its searchlight on Ohaukwu Council treasury", the statement further reads in part.

According to the Ebonyi Resonance's statement, "why would Ebonyi State government raise the alarm at the attempted destruction of Ibeto facility recently, but keeps quiet in the face of the wanton killings and destruction of property going-on everyday in the area? Is Ibeto facility in Effium more precious to Umahi's government than the lives of innocent Ebonyians being killed everyday by warlords in Effium Community?".

The Group further called on Ebonyi State government to investigate the alleged involvement of Ibeto and Company in the crisis, over the alleged interest of the Company in the limestone deposit in the area.

It was however further noted that the state government lies on daily basis on the death tolls recorded in the area arising from the crisis. 

This according to Ebonyi Resonance's statement is a show of insincerity and connivance on government's part with certain forces that are behind the crisis.

It also urged the state government to understand the peculiarities of the community to avoid making induced decision that could make the crisis a reoccurring event.

"Also, we frown at the lies of the government on the death tolls in the crisis. Such lies shows connivance and insincerity of the state government in the crisis. 

"Government should know that these lives being wasted in this crisis are human beings; infact, Ebonyians whom Umahi's government vowed to protect; they are not fowls.

"The alarm raised by the government over an attempted attack on Ibeto facility in Effium recently while it has been seemingly quiet over the daily killings of people in the area shows that it attached more importance in safety of Ibeto's property than the lives of the citizens.

"Again, the constitution of a panel  of inquiry when the government has not made any concrete effort to end the raging war is a window dressing aimed covering some hidden agenda, especially of the people who are behind the war for some economic reasons.

"Because, any sane mind knows that the panel cannot do much amidst the raging war, hence, part of the reference terms of the panel is to carry out on-the-spot assessment to determine the level of property destroyed and/or lives lost.

"We wish to call on the state government to investigate the alleged involvement of Ibeto Group in the crisis, over the company's interest in the limestone deposit in the area.

"It is time to call a spade a spade and not a garden fuck," the statement concluded.

When contacted, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Uchenna Orji denied the allegations, adding that such information does not need government comments.

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