The Ebonyi State Government has set up a committee to investigate the illegal release from police custody of 66 suspects arrested in connection with Effium and Ezza-Effium communal killings.
This was part of resolutions reached during an expanded security council meeting held on Thursday at the State Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Abakaliki, presided over by Governor David Umahi.
At the end of the meeting, selected Commissioners led by the Secretary to the State Government and coordinating Commissioner, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, told journalists that Governor Umahi and the council considered the release of the suspects as sabotage of government’s efforts at restoring peace in the area.
The Committee chaired by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, is to dig into the matter with the view of identifying those behind the illegal action for necessary sanctions.
The council reviewed and commended the security measures so far adopted by the government through the security agencies and other stakeholders and asked the displaced persons to return to their homes.
The committee was further directed to temporarily set up Internally Displaced Persons camps in some identified volatile areas with full medical, feeding and accommodation arrangements for returnees, while government continues to make arrangements for full and permanent peace restoration.
“Council also got worried about some individuals who are a kind of circulating reports in the social media about the crises in Effium, fake reports that are promoting the crises, and directed that authors of such reports should be arrested by the relevant security agencies, and be prosecuted accordingly,” Ugbala said.
He called on stakeholders of both Effium and Ezza-Effium to cooperate with security agencies to ensure that permanent peace is restored to the communities.
The release of about 66 of the suspects arrested in connection with attacks few days after their arrest had attracted wide criticism from concerned quarters.
Some have described the action both as a conspiracy and a compromise on the part of security agencies, while others criticised government’s long silence over the development as connivance.