Land dispute: CAN sues for peace between Ikwo, Izzi communities
By Ruth Oginyi
The warring people of Enyigba community, Abakaliki local government area of the state and their neighbouring Enyibichiri, Echi-alike, Ikwo also in the state have been advised to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ebonyi state chapter, made the call on Monday in Abakaliki.
The two neighbouring communities have been at war for many years over boundary disputes with many lives lost.
The state government, through the peace committee, resolved the crisis last year by demarcating the disputed land. However, there were renewed hostilities two weeks ago with some little children, including breastfeeding ones, allegedly abducted by suspected warlords and some lives also lost.
Since the abduction of the children, there has been tension in the Abakaliki capital city following the alleged threat of Ikwo people by their Izzi counterparts to vacate the city.
The Ikwo people were also sacked from the rice mill by the Izzi people.
Abakaliki capital city is located in Izzi land and the people of the clan allegedly ordered every Ikwo person in the city to vacate the land.
Following the alleged threat, many Ikwo people have vacated the city to their villages.
The state CAN, in a communique issued after its emergency meeting on the matter and signed by its chairman, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, lamented that the land dispute, that was long resolved with the executive order of Governor Umahi, rose its ugly head.
“The recent development, in few days, led to the burning of some houses, at the part of Enyigba and the part of Enyibichiri.
“But, on a special note and heart-breaking, is the abduction of children from Izzi which CAN says is highly condemnable.
“CAN, therefore, is joining her words to the press release of His Excellency, where he gave Ikwo people (Enyibichiri), one week (7 days) to make sure that these children are returned.
“It is on that note that CAN is also making a special appeal to Enyibichiri and Ikwo people that long before the expiration of seven days, to let CAN know the whereabouts of these children concretely and verifiably, alive or dead, that we may intervene in giving the state government the report.
“CAN, in conjunction with Ebonyi state government, is also asking all the citizens of Ebonyi state, and residents of Ebonyi state, to please go about their normal businesses and all who have left the state in fear should all come back to Ebonyi state capital.
“We join Ebonyi state government to emphasise that anyone found breaking stores, shops or houses, intimidating or threatening the residents, visitors, in Abakaliki urban – the capital of the state – is taking laws into his or her hands and whenever apprehended, will follow the due process of the law.
“We, therefore, ask all, especially our brothers from Enyibichiri and Enyigba to shield their swords and all should work together to see that peace returns permanently.