From Goddy Osuji, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Government has called on the National Boundary Commission to quickly step into the communal crisis that has taken over the peace of the two warring communities in Ebonyi and Cross River states where 12 persons were allegedly killed and some others declared missing over land dispute.
While the Adadama community in Abi Local Government, Cross River State is claiming that 11 of their people were killed by the people of Ndiagu Amagu in Ikwo Local Government of Ebonyi State, Ochuenyim village in Ndiagu Amegu Ikwo is claiming that eight persons of their own were abducted and several others wounded.
The Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, while addressing the press at Government House, Abakaliki yesterday lamented that efforts made by Ebonyi State Government for peace to reign in the border communities had not been positively responded by the Cross River State Government, which had remained aloof over several efforts made by the government, instead, the Adadama people had engaged in several provocative attacks on the people of Ndiagu Amagu where no less than eight persons were abducted and one later found dead.
Even as he said there was no war between both states, Umahi urged Cross River State Government to wake and give peace a chance because Governor Elechi visited the area when Amagu people cried out that some gunmen from Adadama invaded Ochuenyim village in Ndiagu Amegu Ikwo and abducted two persons and wounded several others. The deputy governor, while giving a graphic detail of the crisis, stated that as soon as such information reached the government, all the security agencies were alerted and the commissioner of police ordered the deployment of policemen to the area to forestall possible reprisal.
“As a follow up to that security measure, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi promptly visited Ochuenyim Amegu community in the company of Commissioner of Police, where he urged the people to remain calm and maintain peace while government looked into the problem.”
He regretted that while the Ebonyi State Government had continued to make concerted efforts towards peaceful resolution of the land dispute in spite of provocations, attacks, harassment, abduction and killing of Ebonyi people by hoodlums from Adadama, “it is regrettable, however, that in spite of numerous letters I have written to the deputy governor of Cross River State for the two states to meet and discuss the issues affecting the border communities, there has been no response from them.”
Umahi added that it seemed that the National Boundary Commission had abandoned its earlier attempt to do ethnographic study of the area following threats from Cross River State natives to the commission not to step into the disputed area. He, therefore, called on the commission to expedite action to permanently resolve the boundary dispute as well as summon a meeting of the two states so that the issues could be discussed.
He also called on the people of Amegu Ikwo to remain calm while the state government made necessary efforts to resolve the problem, just as he warned that security agencies had been mandated to deal severely with anybody who attempted to breach the peace in any part of the state.