Ebonyi State indigenes residing in Ekajiok, Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State were on Friday forced to vacate the town by the people of the area following the alleged missing of two of their people in Ebonyi State.
The displaced persons, numbering over 800, comprising men, women, children, the aged, pregnant and lactating mothers, on Monday besieged the Cabinet Office, Government House, Abakaliki to seek response from the state government.
Spokesperson of the people and the Chairman, Izzi Traders Association in Ogoja, Simon Agena, who hails from Ezza Inyimagu in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, narrated that the crisis, which erupted on Friday, led to massive looting and destruction of their shops and other means of livelihood.
Agena added that it took the intervention of the Police and Ohaneze Ndigbo to rescue them safely back home, adding that they were at the Cabinet Office to intimate Governor David Umahi of the development and seek his assistance.
Agena explained: “I was in front of my shops on Friday when somebody came to me and told me what was happening.
“He asked me to close my shops first.
“Within five minutes, youths from Ekajiok in their numbers armed with various weapons came and broke my shops.
“They looted everything in the shops.
“They went round the community and did same thing to all Ebonyi indigenes resident in the community.
“We have lost all our livelihood and earnings.
“The shirt I am wearing is the only thing that was saved in the attack.
“We are crying to our Governor to come to our aid because we have nothing to feed our children and entire families; we are dying of hunger.
“We have no problem with the Ekajiok people to warrant our attack and destruction of our properties.
“However, I contacted the traditional ruler of that community on phone when the incident occurred to know why the thing was happening to us and he told me that two indigenes of their community who went to mill their rice in Ebonyi got missing.”
Speaking to newsmen in Abakaliki, the Head of Department, Relief and Rehabilitation of the State Emergency Management Agency, Prince Chibueze Iteshi, confirmed the development.
He noted that the State Government, through the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, has directed that the names of those affected be compiled for further action.
Iteshi explained: “We got a report that Ebonyi indigenes living in Ekajiok in Ogoja local government area of Cross River State were attacked by the indigenes of Ekajiok.
“In the report, the Ebonyi people in Ekajiok told us some indigenes of Ekajiok came to rice mill in Ebonyi State to mill their rice and two of their indigenes got missing; they didn’t return.
“On getting the information, the people of Ekajiok started attacking all Ebonyi indigenes living in that place.
“It was the aid of police from Ogoja Area Command and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo there that fought and ensured that they were safeguarded and brought back to Ebonyi State here.
“Currently, we are compiling the number of those displaced, but we have men, women, lactating mothers, pregnant women, small children, infants in their midst.
“They came to this state today and immediately they came in, the SSG directed that SEMA should take action immediately.”
Those mainly affected were Ebonyi indigenes from Izzi Local Government and other parts of Abakaliki area.