Sporadic shootings at Ishielu axis, cause blockades of Enugu-Abakaliki highway


By  Agatha Eze

The Enugu-Abakaliki express road has been reportedly blockaded for hours today, resulting heavily traffic jams with passengers stranded following sporadic-shootings by unknown gunmen at the boundaries between Ezzillo and Iyionu communities in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

This has been reported to have compelled stranded passengers to seek alternative routes for the safety of their lives.

We gathered that there was a renewed land dispute between Ezzillo and Iyionu communities in Ishielu Local Government Area on April 19, 2021, which has led to the death of two persons.

The  Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi this afternoon ordered the arrest and prosecution of the Councilor representing Ezzillo ward for alleged trespass which led to the crisis.

In a telephone interview with some stranded commuters, Micheal Ezechi and Nkechinyere Osi, who were on their way to Enugu State from Ebonyi, said they were stopped from proceeding on their journey by security operatives, owing to the unrest.

Others, Ogbonnaya Mbeh and Joseph Ngwu, said they were away from the flashpoint waiting for signals from the security agents.
It could be recalled that Umahi said earlier today that, “on the Iyionu-Ezzillo crisis, this misunderstanding has been there for a very long time. Some of these land disputes have been there for over 100 years. And CAN under the leadership of Rev fr Abraham Nwali has been working very hard and has really reached a point where the land in dispute was declared a buffa zone.”

“But unfortunately, a Councillor from Ezzillo, out of greed, took an expatriate investor to the disputed land and that led to shooting and killing where two persons died.".

He said, the Catholic Bishop of Catholic Church, Abakaliki Diocese had directed Fr Abraham to step in and he had done that, agreed there would be no more shooting and killings in the area.

 "That they will abide by any government decision on it. The security council meeting today 20th April 2021 directed the immediate arrest of that Councillor and for him to be prosecuted immediately," he added.

Responding, the Police Spokesperson in the state, DSP Mrs Loveth Odah, told us that  the Commissioner of Police, CP Garba Aliyu, had deployed security operatives to maintain peace in the area.

Mrs Odah  added the police command would open up the road for free movement of those plying the route.

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