Allegation untrue, unfounded — C-River govt
By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—EBONYI State Government, weekend, accused its Cross River State counterpart of frustrating the peace move initiated by it to quell the boundary dispute between boundary communities in the states.
Last Saturday, nine persons, including a pregnant woman from Ofioji, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, were allegedly killed by their counterparts in Cross River State, following the outbreak of fresh hostilities in the affected communities.
But in a quick reaction, Chief Press Secretary to Cross River State Government, Mr. Christian Ita, denied the allegation that the state government was frustrating the peace move geared towards resolving the boundary dispute, describing it as untrue and unfounded.
Meanwhile, Ebonyi State Government has called on the Federal Government and National Boundary Commission, NBC, to immediately intervene in the boundary dispute between Ofioji, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and their neighbours, Ijutun-Idoru of Obubra council area of Cross River State to forestall further breakdown of law and order, adding that it was wrong and unfair for Ebonyi people to be slaughtered like animals in their land.
Briefing newsmen in Abakaliki, Chief Press Secretary to Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Emmanuel Uzor, explained how the governor had over time initiated peace moves between Ebonyi and its Cross River counterparts on the boundary dispute, yet the crisis had continued to escalate.
Describing the boundary dispute as disturbing and disheartening, Uzor regretted that the governor was being blackmailed by the Cross River people because he called on the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Burutai, to increase the number of military personnel within the boundary areas for the protection of lives and property of the people in the troubled area.
He said: “The governor made the demand on the conviction of the ability of the soldiers to quell the situation. We believe that this crisis is being sponsored by a former minority leader in Cross River State House of Assembly. The same man was indicted for sponsoring similar communal crisis.
“Maybe he is doing this because he is looking for one appointment or the other. Governor David Umahi is feeling sad that his people are being slaughtered like animals. Meanwhile the Cross river government is unwilling to come for a dialogue. The Governor is sending this message, let us make peace; let us dialogue and make peace with the communities. The two communities are laying claims to a boundary area between Ebonyi and Cross River state.
“We want to call for sufficient security personnel at the boundary area and if any security agent has compromised, he or she should be redeployed so that the crisis can be controlled and curtailed. The federal government should come into the matter to nip the wanton destruction of lives and property at the bud”.