From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki.
Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi, yesterday, said no fewer than 25 persons were killed while about 125 houses, including fuel and gas stations, were burnt in the ongoing intra-communal war in Effium, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.
The governor stated this during a meeting with stakeholders of Effium and Ezza clans at Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki.
He said 26 arms had been recovered from the warlords, but he alleged that the Chairman of the council,Clement Odah; lawmaker representing Ohaukwu north in the House of Assembly, Chinedu Awo and Commissioner for Local Government, Samuel Okoronkwo, were responsible for the crisis.
Umahi said the trio, including his Special Assistant on Parks, Emmanuel Igwe, disobeyed his directive on the Effium Motor Park leadership tussle, which he said led to the crisis.
“When the problem was still looming, I called two of them, and we sat together and I pleaded with them, but they did not listen to me. In fact, at a time one of them walked out on me. So, let it be known that I did everything to stop the crisis. I set up a committee, but the committee failed me; the committee members are culpable. The Commissioner for Local Government did not do his work, the SA on parks did not do his work. If two of them had done their work,the crisis would not have started because I directed that NURTW at Effium Park be dissolved, but they went ahead to set up a caretaker leadership against my directive. And that was how the crisis started,” he said.’’
The governor who expressed his anger with the continuous escalation of crisis in the area, alleged that some powerful individuals from the two warring clans were secretly contributing funds to fuel the violence.
‘’Officially,we have recorded about 25 deaths,recovered 26 arms and about 125 houses ,fuel and gas stations burnt.I have written to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to come to our aid’’ he said.
He vowed to expose and prosecute individuals or group of persons found to be buying arms or contributing money to promote the crisis.