AN ELEVEN MAN COMMITTEE SET TO RESOLVE COMMUNAL CLASH THAT LEFT PEOPLE HOMELESS IN EBONYI STATE.
Ebonyi State Government has set up an eleven man committee to resolve a communal crisis between the people of Enyigba in Abakaliki Local Government Area and their neighbours in Enyibichiri in Ikwo Local Government Area of the State. The clashes between the two communities resulted in the abduction of about four persons, destruction of houses and economic property worth millions of Naira
Enyigba, an agarian community in Abakaliki Local Government Area has been living in peace with their neighbours in Enyibichirir Alike Ikwo until last week when a disagreement over land ownership resulted in days of conflict. A visit to the disputed area shows that apart from a church and a shrine, all houses in the place including a modern Primary school class block were either burnt down or vandalized.
Radio Nigeria observed that over two thousand persons displaced as a result of the crisis were being guarded at a market square by security agents while others were said to have sought refuge in the homes of their relatives outside the community. Inaugurating the Committee at Government House, Abakaliki, Governor David Umahi who had earlier visited the scene explained that the committee as part of its terms of reference would make a proposal on permanent demarcation of the disputed land to restore peace in the area.
Governor Umahi emphasized that the state government may be forced to set up a commission of inquiry, unless the communities apologized, pointing out that out of the abducted four persons, one had been freed alive while one was found dead.
The Chairman of the committee who is also the State Commissioner for Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, Chief Francis Orji described the assignment as an onerous task, but promised to ensure that peace was restored in the area. The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Senator Emmanuel Onwe had while addressing newsmen after a security meting on the crisis, expressed the hope that the two communities would give peace a chance.
On the fate of those who were displaced from their homes, the Caretaker Chairman of Abakaliki Local Government Area, Mr Peter Nwaogbaga said though the Council had been doing its best, there was the need for urgent intervention of Emergency Management agencies to avert humanitarian crisis.