Umahi Declares Curfew in Ebonyi Warring Community

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki

The Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. David Umahi, has declared a dusk-to- dawn curfew in Effium community as part of the measures to restore peace in the area.

The declaration was contained in a press statement that was issued by the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, in Abakaliki.

The governor gave the order shortly after his visit to the community and announced that military and police have been fully deployed to man all exit and entry points, including forest and bushes.

The statement reads in part: “The Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Mr. David Nweze Umahi, has ordered dusk to dawn curfew in Effium with immediate effect as part of efforts to restore peace to the area.

“Therefore, miscreants and hoodlums including machineries who are hiding in the forest and bushes are advised to vacate the community immediately in their own interest as security agents have been directed to route them out.

“Also, those who are in the habit of raising false alarm to distract and divert attention of security agents are by this announcement advised to desist from doing that as such person(s) will be tracked, arrested and prosecuted as one of those promoting the crisis.”

He assured the people of Effium community, both home and in diaspora, that normalcy would soon be restored to the area.

Meanwhile, the indigenes of Ezza Effium communities in Effium Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have petitioned the federal government over the raging unrest in the community.

The petition, which was filed through their Solicitor, Mr. Sampson Ekigbo and signed by Hon. Chinedu Awo, urged the government to take decisive actions to restore peace and normalcy in the troubled area.

The petition that was dated March 31, 2021, was addressed to the Inspector -General of Police (IG), the Chief of Defence Staff, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Amnesty International, the Chief of Army Staff, the Director of Department of State Services (DSS), and the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

In the petition, the community urged President Muhammad Buhari to deploy professional security agents to forestall further genocide against members of the community.

According sources, the crisis was caused by a leadership tussle between warring parties at branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

The petition reads in part: “The crisis has remained unabated due to the various salient reasons including estrangement, political, marginalisation, and denial of other social-cultural rights/entitlements against Ezza people by the Ufiom people largely because their son, Hon. Clement Omekannaya Odah, emerged the executive chairman of Ohaukwu council.

“This is not withstanding that the Ezzas are not less than 80 per cent of Effium autonomous community in Ohaukwu LGA, Ebonyi State. Over five hundred Effium indigenes of Ezza extraction has been killed and their properties worth billions of naira looted/destroyed by the ufiom people. For avoidance of doubt, in the present unexpected crisis, we the Ezzas have remained under attack by various combined groups.”

In another development, the Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has decried the recent killings of over 15 persons and burning of over 200 houses in Effium community, a suburb in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, due to the communal clash between the people of Korri and Ezza.

The group in a statement that was issued yesterday by the President of AESID, Mr. Pascal Oluchukwu, called on the federal government to immediately intervene in order to put a stop to the ongoing killings of defenseless citizens in the community.

It stated: “About 500 natives of the once-sleepy and peaceful community have lost their lives with properties worth several millions of Naira destroyed in the man-made war ostensibly provoked by the Korri natives of the community to wipe out Ezza indigenes.

“A few surviving eyewitnesses recounted from their various hideouts that hired militants had stormed an Ezza enclave- Nwekendiagu village in Effium on Thursday last week, killing over 15 persons and burning over 200 houses, including a fuel station located in the area.