Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has suspended fifty one public office holders including two Local Government Chairmen and two of his Special Assistants from Ikwo and Abakaliki Local Government Areas.
This followed the killing of innocent persons during clashes between the people of Enyigba in Abakaliki and Noyo and Echalike in Ikwo Local Government Areas of the State.
The decision to suspend the Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area and his Abakaliki counterpart as well as other public office holders was reached at an enlarged security meeting which took place at Government House Abakaliki.
It was called at the instance of Governor Umahi to discuss rising cases of killings and clashes in some parts of the State.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the State Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Dr Kenneth Ugbala explained that the suspension was due to their failure to nip the crisis in the bud.
” Ebonyi State Government is not interested in breaking the law of the land but the suspension of the two chairmen is purely on security reason which primarily is overriding public interest of all the people they were elected to protect”
Dr. Ugbala said Traditional Rulers in charge of Edda and Enyigba Communities were also suspended indefinitely as the crisis was unconnected with a lingering land dispute involving the people of Ikwo and Abakaliki Local Government Areas.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Hyginus Nwokwu said government frowned at the killing of eight persons returning from Matriculation ceremony at FUNAI Ikwo road on the day of the clashes and gave the people of Abakaliki Local Government Area one week to produce the killers.
“If after the expiration of this , the people are not able to produce those who killed innocent Ebonyians who are not directly or indirectly part of the crisis, government would decide to hunt them”
Dr. Nwokwu added that Ebonyi State Government also resolved to reach out to Enugu State Government over the gruesome murder of three in laws from Aninri Local Government Area who were in Onicha Igboeze for a marriage ceremony but ended up being killed.