Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has vowed to arrest and prosecute those linked to the communal crisis involving Effium, Ezza Effium indigenes of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the police have so far confirmed eight deaths, over 60 persons arrested and burning of over eight houses in the crisis which emanated from a leadership dispute at the area’s motor park.
Umahi made the declaration on Monday at Effium during a tour of the community.
The governor said even government officials involved in the carnage would not be spared.
He said he would not release any stakeholder already in detention as a result of the crisis as he was in touch with security agencies over investigations into the matter.
He said: “The state’s attorney general must procure a court order stipulating that they can only be released on my instruction.
“A judicial panel of inquiry should also be constituted over the matter as I would order their release when women from both sides confirm that permanent peace has returned to the area.”
Umahi ordered all displaced persons to return to their homes as adequate security had been provided in the area to restore normalcy and protect their lives and property, adding: “All political appointments and developmental projects being executed in the crisis area should be suspended until permanent peace returns to the area.”
Umahi further warned the opposition in the state not to “cash into” the crisis to further heighten tension as anybody who did so would be arrested and prosecuted.
He said: “Opposition is allowed in our government, but it must not be fake news and you cannot sit in your homes to cause problems in the state.
“I urge security agencies to go after individuals who peddle fake news to prove their points as this would allow peace return to the society.
“I also order the arrest of Mr. Silas Onu, the Peoples Democratic Party Caretaker Publicity Secretary, over alleged inflammatory publication on the social media concerning the crisis.
“I also urge the media not to use its pen to cause or escalate crisis in the state because precious lives are involved.”
Emmanuel Igwe, the Governor’s Special Assistant on Parks Development, said he duly reported the breach of peace at the Effium motor park, where the crisis emanated to relevant authorities.
Friday Nwite, a Youth Leader in the community, accused some politicians in the area of being the arrowhead of the crisis.