THE member representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representative, Mr. Bassey Ewa, Sunday, accused Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State of sponsoring militants to attack neighbouring Adadama community in Cross River State in the renewed communal crisis that has reportedly claimed many lives.
Reacting, Governor Elechi described the allegation as frenzy, adding that no sane human being would think that a sitting governor could sponsor militants to attack fellow human beings over land dispute.
Ewa was said to have escaped death by the whiskers from the suspected militants in the ongoing communal war between Adadama people of Abi Local Government Area and Amagu Community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The federal lawmaker, who said he was on an on-the-spot assessment, claimed that over 15 persons from Adadama community had been killed by their Ebonyi neighbours.
Ewa saidn a telephone interview: “It was a very terrible and horrible experience yesterday, (Saturday). Having been briefed about the crisis by the members of the affected community because I represent them in the House of Representatives, I visited the community to condole with them because I heard that four persons had been killed.
“So I wanted to go and meet the bereaved, console with them, donate relief materials to those who have been displaced and assure them that government is working hard to bring the situation under control.”
“But it is unimaginable how people abuse peace. From what I saw, nobody can convince me that the governor of Ebonyi did not sponsor those militants. There is no way villagers in those small peasant farming communities can afford Hilux buses and AK47 rifles with mobile Police uniforms if the government of Ebonyi state did not sponsor them.
“The four bodies I saw on the road were just killed not up to five minutes before I arrived. The killers were still around in the nearby bush, we almost ran into them. Maybe they would have killed us too. One of the women was on a bike with the family and she was brutally beheaded and the site was very gory. It is the kind of site I never pray to see again.
“I saw with my eyes how people were carrying arms and killing in Hilux vehicles and I know that the governor of Ebonyi is sponsoring those militants and it is unimaginable to think that a state governor can degenerate to that level because of just land.
“But my appeal is that we must come together as neighboring governments to see how we bring the situation under control and for the police to know that when they wear that uniform, they are not meant to support their people in any conflict but to protect every Nigerian.”
Reacting to the allegation, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Onwe, described it as frenzy.
According to him, no sane person will think that a governor widely acknowledged for his peaceful disposition could condescend low to arm militants to kill other people.
Onwe said already, it was even two persons from the affected community in Ebonyi State that had been reported missing, saying since the hostility broke out, nobody had seen them.
“ Let me start by saying that that allegation is not weighty but frenzy and for an allegation to have substance, it should be verified because, there is no way a sitting governor who is known for peace who labeled his campaign and policies on the platform of peace could be sponsoring crisis.
“Three days ago the governor had cause to visit the warring communities and he went there to appeal for peace and the people that are held as I am speaking to you known are people from the local government which that man is talking about, they are from the community in Ebonyi state.
“Even at that, the governor was appealing for peace and asked the Ebonyi people not to take laws in their hands. There is no way any sensible person could fly such allegation against the governor,” he said.
The Information Commissioner wondered whether the lawmaker reasoned well when he said that he saw people brandishing arms and ammunition and that he knew that the governor was sponsoring those militants.
“Can’t you see a snag there between the confession or the observation that people had arms and the other conjectures? Through what means did he verify. So anybody that has arms anybody in war is sponsored by the governor, does he stand to reason.
“It is unimaginable that a governor who is widely acclaimed as a champion of peace will be sponsoring crisis, he has by mitigating, he has been appealing to all warring parties to sheathe their sword and as I speak to you now the two persons that are missing are from the community in Ebonyi state. The latest report we got was that two persons are missing it is not confirmed whether they are dead or alive,” he said.
The member representing Abi Constituency in Cross River State House of Assembly, John Gaul, said before the war broke out, Adadama Community was already holding peaceful discussions with the Okpitomo and Amagu communities of Ebonyi.
He said, the Adadama Traditional Rulers Council sent three delegates to attend the meeting in Ebonyi state based on a verbal accord, but alleged that one of the delegates and Secretary of the Traditional Rulers Council Mr. James Ekoro was abducted by youths of Amagu on his way to Okpitomo.
It was further gathered that due to the prompt combined response of the Chairman of Abi Local Government Area, Hon. Frank Ettah, Hon. John Gaul and the State Security Adviser, Mr. Rekpene Bassey, a detachment of security operatives, Operation MESA was drafted to Adadama to calm down the crisis.
It would be recalled that on January 15, 2013, a peace meeting was convened at the instance of the Ebonyi state government with the Chairmen of Abi and Ikwo Local Government Areas in attendance and ten delegates each from Adadama and Amagu respectively, the DPOs of both council areas and the SSS were in attendance.