Umahi flays communal clash in council area
The Ebonyi State government has taken over some hectares of land in Izzi Local Government Area, to forestall future bloody dispute between the people of Mkpuma-Ekwoku and Ogwuzeru-Onweya communities.Governor David Umahi made the pronouncement when he visited the disputed land, a few hours after three people were reportedly klled and many houses burnt by youths of the two communities last week.
“Our position as government is that anywhere we have land dispute,government which is naturally the owner of land will take it over. So from today, November 14, the entire land in contention is hereby revoked and taken over by government. So, nobody will farm on this land again; it becomes government’s land,” a statement on by Umahi’s Chief Press Secretary, Emma Anya said.
The governor, who however, announced a donation of N10m for the rebuilding of the burnt houses and provision of relief for the victims, also announced that political appointees from the council area will to forfeit 50 per cent of their allowances towards the rebuilding of the houses.
The governor, in company of the Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Peace Ibekwe-Abdallah and other security chiefs, described the killings and torching of houses as very barbaric. “It is so barbaric and highly condemnable. We are very shocked that at this point of our development people could do such satanic act,” Umahi lamented.
He directed the security chiefs to fish out the perpetrators and ensure peace returned to the area. The governor also urged the security chiefs to provide security for those who planted rice on the disputed land to harvest it.
“I want to ask the Commissioner of Police that those who planted the rice must have to come and harvest it. Whether somebody is dead or not, this rice must be harvested. So the police people must be posted here and the owners of the rice must be encouraged to come and harvest it.”
Lauding the security agents for their timely intervention, Umahi enjoined the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, the Izzi council Caretaker Committee Chairman, Richard Idike and traditional rulers in the council to find a lasting solution to the dispute.
Government, according to the governor, would only return the land to the original owners once lasting peace returned, calling on the people of Mkpuma-Ekwoku to remain calm and not contemplate reprisal as those responsible would be brought to book.
The Speaker, Nwifuru, who also spoke during the inspection, noted that the land dispute was politically-motivated, informing the governor that stakeholders in the area were already meeting to find a lasting end to the crisis.“The incident wouldn’t have happened. it is politically-motivated; but we are trying to resolve it within ourselves. We apologise for what happened and we promise that such will not happen again.”The council Chairman, Idike explained that the land dispute had defied amicable settlement in the past since 30 years.
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