Vice President Yemi Osibanjo on Sunday visited Ebonyi state to inspect maiming, killing and wanton destruction of property between Effium/Ezza-Effium intra-communal crises. There was also invasion by Fulani herdsmen leading to death of many.
At the visit , the Federal Government pledged to ensure justice for victims of the recent attacks on three communities of Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi, by unknown gunmen.
He addressed stakeholders of the state after inspecting the affected communities.
Osibanjo commiserated with the government and people of the state over the unfortunate incident, and promised that the assailants would be arrested and duly prosecuted.
He said: “I convey the condolences from President Muhammadu Buhari as there is no justification whatsoever for the killings and destruction of property.
“The killings must be condemned in its strongest terms as the victims must have lived together for long with those who may have killed them,” he said.
The Vice President said that it was the responsibility of federal, state, and local governments to ensure that such killings did not occur.
“I am, however, pleased that at the Egedegede Community, the political leaders found some facts and evidence which would help security agencies in their investigations.
“This would help trace the perpetrators of this terrible act but our duty as political leaders is to maintain absolute peace in areas where we serve as leaders,’’ he said.
He pledged that the Federal Government has beefed security in the affected areas and other parts of the state by deploying additional soldiers and police personnel to the areas.
“We need to ensure that relief is sent to the affected areas as the National Emergency Management Agency, among other relevant agencies, would be mobilised to assist the people with relief materials,” he said.
Gov. David Umahi thanked the Vice President for accepting to be sent by Buhari to visit the state in its mournful situation.
“You must have been reading in newspapers and the social media the number of insults which southeast governors receive for their efforts to ensure the unity of Nigeria.
“I thank God that we prevented a serious retaliation when the incident occurred but as the chief security officer of the state, I cannot control the situation if such an attack re-occurs,” he said.
Chief Martin Elechi, the immediate predecessor of the current governor, urged the Federal Government to immediately stem the spate of killings and destruction across the country as it was becoming embarrassing.
Chief Eni Uduma, representative of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Ebonyi Chapter, said that the people could longer tolerate the incessant killings and destructions of their property by those suspected to be herders.
Meanwhile, the Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) have cried out over the murder of their kins, which they put at 500, in Effium community, Ohaukwu Local Council of the state.
The association called on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency in Ebonyi to stop the killing defenceless citizens in the area.
In a statement in Abuja weekend, AESID president, Pascal Oluchukwu, claimed that 500 natives of the once peaceful community lost their lives with properties worth millions of naira destroyed in the war allegedly provoked by the Korri natives to wipe out Ezza indigenes.
AESID’s position is coming against the backdrop of attacks by hired militia in fake military uniforms on Tuesday in an Ezza-dominated village.
The group recalled that mercenaries had stormed Nwekendiagu village in Effium, an Ezza enclave, last Thursday, killing over 15 persons and burning over 200 houses, including a fuel station in the area.
On this note, Governor David Umahi ordered immediate dusk to dawn curfew in Effium to avert further killings.
Umahi’s stand was made known in a statement issued through the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, in Abakaliki.
The governor, who issued the order shortly after he visited the community, announced that the military and the police had been fully deployed to man all exit and entry points, including forests and bush parts, to enforce the order.
Also, following the attack by suspected herders on Egedegede, Obegu, and Amuzu communities in Ishielu Local Council of Ebonyi, Umahi has called for justice.
He expressed sadness over the gruesome murder of defenceless natives by the marauding herders and charged security operatives to unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act and bring them to justice.
This is coming as Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the South East has described as “gruesome and unwarranted” the murder of about 16 indigenes in Ebonyi by suspected herders, even as the World Igbo Peoples Assembly (WIPAS) has called on Nigerians to rise and protect themselves against killer herdsmen, insisting that there were clear indications that the group was prepared to overrun the country.