Ebonyi CAN sues for peace over Ikwo/Izzi communal clash
By Ruth Oginyi
The warring people of Enyigba community, Abakaliki local government area of the state and their neighboring Enyibichiri, Echi-alike, Ikwo also in the state have been advised to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Ebonyi state chapter, made the call in Abakaliki recently.
The two neighboring communities have been at war for many years over boundary disputes with many lives lost.
The State government through the peace committee had resolved the crisis last year by demarcating the disputed land. But there were renewed hostilities last two weeks with some little children including breastfeeding ones alleged to have been abducted by suspected warlords while some lives were also lost.
Since the abduction of the children, there has been tension in the Abakaliki capital city following the alleged threat on Ikwo people by their Izzi counterparts to vacate the city.
The Ikwo people were said to have been 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 indigenes have vacated the city to their villages and other parts of the State and country.
The state CAN in a communique issued after its emergency meeting on the matter signed by its Chairman, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, lamented that the land dispute that was long resolved with the Executive Order of Governor Umahi, reared its ugly head again.
“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 heartbreaking, is the abduction of children from Izzi which 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 7 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 emphasize 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”, the association.
“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.
In the course of the peace process, the Ikwo people made an observation, that most of their fears and worries are their brothers Ikwo, Enyibichiri Azuoffia, living in Cross River, who always step in to commit crimes that are too heavy as this, and they will be found wanting”, the communique concluded.