Effium Crisis: Group accuses Umahi of playing ostrich


A group known as the Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly (ECA) has charged Governor David Umahi to shield his alleged selfish political and economic interests and takle Ezza-Effium and Uffiom crisis headlong.

The Assembly in a press conference in Abakaliki on Thursday blamed Governor Umahi to be behind the killing and blood letting in the area, alleging complacency and connivance with Ohaukwu Local Government Chairman, Clement Odah to exterminate Ezza people from Effium community because of vested economic interests.

Chairman of the Assembly, Aligwe Matthias Chukwuma in the press conference highlighted thus:

"It has become expedient that we brief you again on the ongoing genocide against us (Ezza-Effium people) in Effium community which Governor David Umahi-led government has suspiciously labelled communal crisis to deceive the unsuspecting public and the world, even when credible intelligence points to the contrary.

"First, we have analyzed the various actions, antics and body language of Governor David Umahi towards these premeditated killings and destruction of properties of Ezza-Effium people which commenced since January 22, 2021 and have juxtaposed it with credible intelligence at our disposal, and wish to boldly state that the governor, Chief David Umahi is culpable in the evil plot to exterminate and wipe-out Ezza-Effium people in Effium community, which is already a near success. 

"At the onset, we believed in Governor Umahi and his genuineness in ending this unprovoked killings and destruction of properties of Ezza-Effium people, but we were taken aback to discover lately that the Governor was merely playing the ostrich.

"Little did we know that Ezza-Effium people had been marked for destruction by Governor Umahi, who connived with his business ally, Cletus Ibeto, the CEO of Ibeto group and the Council Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, Barr. Clement Odah to wipe out Ezza-Effium people in order to have a smooth and unrestricted exploration of the mineral deposit found in Effium community.

"We are still at loss why a Governor would trade off his constitutional oath of protecting lives and property because of political and economic interests.

"Recall that when the governor visited Effium Community in January, 2021, when the crisis began, he promised to ensure that Barr. Clement Odah and the member representing Ohaukwu North, Hon. Chinedu Awo, who were accused of being responsible for the mayhem in the area were suspended from offices and prosecuted. But to the surprises of all, Umahi reneged. 

"Instead, he allowed Odah to be using Ohaukwu Council fund meant for development in the area, to fund the killings of Ezza-Effium people.

"For nearly three months now that these killings and destruction of properties of Ezza-Effium people started in Effium Community, Umahi has been looking the other way and he even labels as a liar and/or alarmist, any native of the community who summons courage to draw his attention to the carnage and often times, threatens to arrest such a person, for voicing out. 

"Governor Umahi all along has been using fake reconciliation meetings to deceive our people and create the impression before the public that he was making efforts to end the carnage, even when the situation is worsening, of which he is fully aware.

"If the Governor is sincere and not culpable, why did he wait till now that over 500 Ezza-Effium people have been massacred before remembering to order for the rearrest of Barr. Clement Odah and others, and proposed for their suspension? 

"Why did he suddenly realize the need to impose another curfew on Effium community nearly three months after he lifted the first curfew? Why did he choose to deploy 600 soldiers and establish two additional police units in Effium community, now that the residents, mostly Ezza-Effium are either killed or displaced? 

"These are obvious signs of complacency on the part of the Governor. Again, how are we sure that the Governor will implement these pronouncements, having made similar once in the past without implementing them?

"To us, Governor Umahi's recent pronouncements and actions in recent time concerning this carnage against Ezza-Effium people are the usual smokescreen and deceptive tendencies aimed at covering some clandestine agenda, using a surrogate, Clement Odah, whom he calls his son, against our people in Effium Community.

"However, we wish to remind him that conquest is a possibility, but having everybody conquered is unto this present time, an impossibility. Therefore, we are not all conquered.

"We are very much aware of the many unholy covenants between the governor and Clement Odah, who the governor publicly said he had forgiven all his sins, including the ones he would commit in future, during the year 2020 Christmas homage to the governor at his Uburu home.

"Governor Umahi should be reminded that in 2016 when Odah was appointed Caretaker Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, he was caught with guns, by security agents and Umahi did not suspend him for unlawfully bearing arms, rather, Umahi's government connections were used to facilitate his release from the police custody.

"Also, in 2016,  Clement Odah constituted a killer squad and empowered them with guns in Effium Community. One of them killed an Ezza man near Okporo forest. When he was apprehended, he confessed to the police authorities that he was given gun by Odah, yet, he was not suspended or tried.

"The reign of Odah in Ohaukwu practically turned the council area to a killing field for cultists and other killer squads, yet, Governor Umahi has been shielding him. 

"If Governor Umahi is sincere and innocent as he is pretending to be, he should not be talking about suspension of Odah by now, but his prosecution for genocide against those who voted him to power.

"Umahi should be reminded that we are fully aware that the incident that led to the ongoing genocide against Ezza-Effium people in Effium community which involved two loyalists of Clement Odah in Effium motor park was a mere smokescreen towards igniting the premeditated war against Ezza-Effium people.

"So, linking Hon. Chinedu Awo to the crisis is a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. 

"We therefore, invite the public to note that suspending Hon. Awo or any other elected or political appointee from Effium community, outside Clement Odah, is one of the many deceptive tendencies of Governor Umahi to cover-up the truth behind the carnage in Effium community.

"We urge Umahi to watch his back and should not be carried away by sensational voyage for self orchestrated quests for political and economic gains.

"The Governor should note that we are not yet conquered and as a people referred to as Ezza-Effium, we have vowed to stand strong and unshaken; even if it comes to a point that it's only one person that is remaining to be killed, he will continue to fight for the rights of Ezza-Effium in Effium Community of Ebonyi State.

"Umahi should once again be reminded that Uffiom people are migrants from Cross River; therefore, they do not have more stake in Ebonyi State than the descendants of Ezekuna, the first born of His Eminence, Ekumenyi, the progenitor of a geographical setting known as Abakaleke (Abakaliki) today", the chairman concludes.

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