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Ebonyi indigenes blame oil discovery for Effium killings, Umahi for inaction

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David Umahi of Ebonyi State.


The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has blamed the discovery of oil and mineral deposits for the recent killings in Effium, Ohaukwu Council of the Ebonyi State. 

In the same vein, Ebonyi indigenes in Lagos, under the aegis of Development Association of Ebonyi State (DAES), condemned the spate of interstate boundary disputes and communal conflicts affecting some communities and towns in the state, saying these have become issues of great concern to every well- meaning and right-thinking indigene at home and in the Diaspora, as hundreds of innocent people have been killed or maimed, with properties worth billions of naira wantonly destroyed in the myriad of gory conflicts.

AESID President, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, alleged that the situation was further worsened by the attempt by the state government, in partnership with a billionaire investor from Anambra State determined to mine the mineral deposits, in breach of laid down rules and regulations.

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The association maintained that it was not opposed to investors mining the mineral deposits, so long as it meets the requirements of the law, just as it asked the state government to clear the air on the need to assure the people of Effium on their safety.

AESID, in a statement, noted: “Recall that we had always raised the alarm and condemned the ongoing carnage in Effium, which first started on January 22, this year. So far, uncountable number of souls, particularly of Ezza descent, have been lost to the violent attacks, which we have also consistently blamed on the state government, led by Governor David Nweze Umahi, for his inability to show leadership and live up to his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens, as canvassed in the Nigerian constitution.

“However, we have now unravelled the actual reason the state government is grandstanding, rather than bringing the sponsors of the killings to book. It has come to the notice of AESID that the discovery of some mineral deposits, such as lead, tin, zinc and some deposits of crude oil, is the main reason the Korri natives, sponsored and believably backed, are hell-bent on wiping out the rest of other dwellers in Effium and the Ezzas, who have the highest population from the area.”

It continued: “AESID is miffed by the insidiously desperate attempts to favour one side against the other and perpetrate heinous violent crimes against those it feels could be an obstacle or opposition to its planned forceful and secret mining activities in Effium. This is insane and downrightly condemnable and we so do.

“The said billionaire businessman, whose firm is said to be interested in the mining operations, should know better how the law provides for corporate institutions interested in tapping mineral resources in a land or community should best approach it to avoid clandestine moves that could endanger lives and property, as is currently the case in Effium.

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“We, therefore, insist that Umahi must act by ordering the arrest and prosecution of the a local government chairman and indeed others allegedly mentioned in this crime.

“The attempts to clampdown, arrest and detain some Ezza stakeholders for voicing out their outrage over these dastardly attacks, including the detention of a member, representing Ezza South Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Chris Usulor, by the DSS is highly condemned by this body.”

The statement described the declaration of Oluchukwu as a wanted person in the state as a joke.In a communiqué signed by the President, Felix Amah Nnachi; Emmanuel Chukwu; Ernest Ukpai; Mrs. Ngozi Egbo; Onyebuchi Kingsley Aleke; Emmanuel Akam; Nwuguru Simeon and Martins Eze at the end of a general meeting in Lagos, DAES asked the Federal Government and Umahi to collaborate with relevant authorities, especially the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to manage the conflicts, while continuing in the search for permanent solutions to the unending boundary dispute between Ebonyi and neighbouring Benue and Cross River states.

DAES noted that the two conflicts have rendered Ebonyi citizens vulnerable, leaving them backward, devastated and hapless.
While commending Umahi for his people-oriented leadership programmes, massive infrastructural developments in the state, commitment to the peace and overall development and political will to get things right, the group solicited for more proactive measures from the government in arresting or preventing further conflicts in other communities still entangled in similar experience.

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