The Ebonyi State Government has declared the National Coordinator, Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, wanted over alleged incisive publications leading to renewed killings in Effium, Ebonyi State.
Governor David Umahi announced these developments on Tuesday as part of decisions reached at the State Security Council meeting in Abakaliki.
The government has also ordered the arrest and prosecution of an Ezillo, Ishielu Local Government Area Councillor, whose action on a disputed land allegedly brought about a recent crises, which claimed two lives in the area.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting held at the Executive Council chambers, Government House, Abakaliki, Umahi explained that the inciting publication by the AESID Coordinator in the Sun Newspapers of April 9, 2020 was injurious as it triggered off the recent reported fresh killings in Effium community Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the State.
He maintained that the community had remained peaceful for over two weeks after the initial killings following government’s intervention, until the publication incited further violence between the Effium and Ezza-Effium people.
Umahi however noted that the stakeholders of the two warring communities have expressed the readiness of their people to return to their places, and directed security agencies to fish out for prosecution the bad eggs who were bent on stalling the peace efforts of government
Umahi explained: “Our security meeting has become weekly because of certain security challenges in the State, majorly occasioned by social media.
“Today, we took briefing of what is happening in Effium, and we discovered that Effium has been at peace for the past two weeks until one Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu in Sun Newspapers of 9th of April released very wicked allegations against the security agencies and against the government of Ebonyi State, and that resulted in fresh killings.
“And we have the stakeholders of Effium and Ezza-Effium in our meeting today, and our decision was to arrest all of them, and to commence charges on murder.
“But we have noted that the people of Effium and Ezza-Effium are willing to return to their homes, and are willing to embrace peace.
“But there are still some few elements from among the two sides that go to social media to dish out very wrong information, and it escate tensions with resultant effect of killings.
“So we are appealing to Security agencies to watch out and let us apprehend such persons.
“I will declare this Ambassador Oluchikwu Paschal wanted and we have decided that if he doesn’t come to answer, that we will.press prosecution charges against him.
“We have directed the Commissioners for Internal Security and Information to write to Sun Newspaper to reveal the identity of the man.
“He should come to answer for the publication that resulted to such killings in Effium.
“This is very important and we are determined within the next two weeks to get the people of Effium back to their homes.”
On the dispute between Ezillo and Iyionu in Ishielu LGA, Umahi noted that calm has been restored by the combined efforts of government committee comprising mainly of members of the Christian Association of Nigeria led by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Religion and Welfare Matters, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali.
He said: “On the Iyionu Ezillo, the misunderstanding has been there for a very long time.
“Some of these land disputes has been there for over 100 years, and CAN under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali has been working very hard to manage it, and it has gotten to a level of conclusion whereby the State Government, under our law, declared the land in dispute a buffer zone.
“But unfortunately, one Councillor from Ezillo took an expatriate investor into the disputed land, and that resulted in shooting and killings, where two people died.
“The Catholic Bishop has intervened through Fr. Abraham Nwali in series of meetings, and the people have agreed to down tools, promising that there would be no.more killing and shooting in the area.
“They have also pledged to abide by whatever decision that the government committee, which is entirely CAN, comes up with.”
Recall that the report of the killing in Ezillo filtered in on Tuesday morning following the dispute that reportedly broke out on Monday,
The report has created panic among residents of the State and travellers who believe that the settled Ezillo/Ezza-Ezillo war has resurged.
Governor Umahi had on Tuesday visited the area to ascertain the true situation in furtherance of efforts to restore calm.