Effium genocide continues, group reveals, accuses Ohaukwu LG Chair

By Solomon Okemini

 Ohaukwu LGA Chairman, Barr Clement Odah.

A group known as Ezza Effium Consultative Assembly on Monday alleged that the war between Effium and Ezza-Effium communities in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State has not stopped.

This was contained in a statement endorsed and made available to Journalists by the Chairman of Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly, Mr. Aligwe Mathias Chukwuma, and the Secretary, Mr. Bernard Orichi.

The group in the statement hinted that the "genocide against our people continues in Effium despite government's peace effort" and however, described the development as very worrisome.

"We are pleased to have you this afternoon; to brief you on the worrisome developments in the ongoing Ezza-Effium and Effium communal crisis. 

"Before now, we chose to be silent, not because we have nothing to say about the crisis, but we believed that it is not above the government of Ebonyi State to handle.  

"First, we wish to publicly condemn this needless crisis and everyone directly or indirectly behind it. We pray God to expose and punish anybody who has hands in this ongoing pogrom in our dear and once peaceful community.

"However, we have observed with dismay, some disturbing developments that we felt there is need to alert the public before it is too late," the statement also read.

It recalled that on February 23, 2021, the governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi convened separate meetings with stakeholders of Ezza and that of Effium at Ecumenical Centre and the old EXCO Chambers, Government House, Abakaliki, respectively; with the aim of finding lasting solution to the needless crisis that erupted in our community.

But according to the statement, "it is unfortunate to let the world know that the Effiumites disregarded and ignored the reconciliation efforts of the state government and have continued to attack and kill our people as well as burning down houses belonging to Ezza people. 

"For instance, while the governor was still meeting with stakeholders of Ezza clan at Ecumenical Centre on February 23, 2021, reports came in that Effium warriors and their hired mercenaries were attacking Ugoeze and Onueroro villages where they succeeded in killing over 21 of our people and burnt down houses.  10 of our people were abducted alive and have been missing till date.

"On 24th February, Governor Umahi also convened a joint meeting with our stakeholders and the stakeholders of Effium clan, but it was disheartening that while the meeting was still going-on, report also came in that Effium warriors and their hired mercenaries were attacking Okpobashi where they ended up killing over 10 of our people and setting many houses ablaze, including a church."

It added: "Recall also that after the two days peace meetings which Governor Umahi personally presided over, far reaching resolutions towards ending the crisis were made, part of which was that our people and Effiumites were given two weeks to make wider consultations in order to have a common ground that would enable the state government take a decision that would bring lasting peace in our community. 

"The Governor also threatened to hold responsible, stakeholders of either Ezza or Effium who allowed their people to foment trouble in the area again, while the government searches for a lasting peace.

"It is regrettable that while our people have embraced peace, the Effiumites have refused to lay down their arms and toe the path of peace. 

"We are saddened to tell the general public that amidst the ongoing reconciliation by the state government, they are still launching attacks, killing our people and burning our properties. 

"In the last 14 days that this peace process started, no day passes without the Effium warriors and their hired mercenaries attacking at least one or two of Ezza-Effium territories, killing our people and destroying their properties."

It further stated, "places the Effium warriors and their hired mercenaries have attacked since February 23, 2021, include but not limited to the following:

"They attacked Igbudoke village and killed many people and set several houses ablaze.

"They attacked Hilltop area in Ezza-Effium, killed many of our people and abducted one Ezza man, Chukwuma Nwuzo Awo who is still missing.

"They attacked Inikiri on the wee hours of March 5th 2021 and killed several people and set ablaze many houses.

"They also attacked Egugwu, near Akparata on the same 5th March, 2021, killed many and abducted 4 persons.

"They also attacked Izilelu/amawula Ezza-Effium, killed people and abducted many of our people, including Jacinta Nwali, James Nwali,            Nwaokpoku   Ajuoguta and Maria Nwali Oke, among others who are missing till date.

It was also noted in the statement that "these are just a few of the attacks the Effium warriors and their hired mercenaries have carried out on our people since February 23rd 2021, which Ebonyi State government convened reconciliation meetings between our stakeholders and that of the Effium.

"Surprisingly and most worrisome is the fact that 85 percentage of the security agents deployed to the area have been hijacked by the Council Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, Mr. Clement Odah, who uses them to secure Akparata, his home town and his Effium urban residence, where the Effium warriors and their hired mercenaries are camped, from which they strike and massacre Ezza people consistently. 

"So, the Effium warriors are under the protective care of the security agents who seem to be aiding them to continue to perpetrate this genocide against our people.

"We therefore call on Ebonyi State government led by Governor David Umahi to note that Effiumites have refused to see the need to embrace peace even when our people have shown enough dispositions for peace, in obedience to the ongoing peace efforts by the government.

"We wish to state as pained and already near eliminated people that we may not continue to fold our hands and watch strangers; the Uffiomites who are migrants from Cross River, whose presence in Ebonyi of today was an accident with no clear origin or any trace at all to our Progenitor, His Eminence Ekumenyi, to exterminate Ezza-Effium who are the indigenous people and descendants of his first son, Ezekuna."

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