Jude Okoro, Calabar
The Federal Government has decried the incessant communal clashes between Ukelle community in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State and their Izzi neighbours in Ebonyi State.
The government said crisis has not only affected the farming communities, but has far-reaching consequences on food security in the country.
Minister of Interior, Lt.-General Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), who made this known, when he paid a courtesy visit to the acting Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu, at the Government House, in Calabar, yesterday, expressed the federal government’s commitment and readiness in restoring peace and order between the two waring communities.
Dambazau, who said he was in the state to visit the affected area, interact with the people and get first hand information on the current state of things in Ukelle community, again, expressed displeasure that the crisis, which erupted over the struggle for land ownership, had claimed many lives while farmlands and property worth millions of naira had been lost.
He said: “Sometimes ago, I was in Cross River, where I visited the affected areas of the Wanikade and Wanihem communal crisis. I am here on another visit, on the same issue. The federal government will not give up on ensuring these crises are brought to an end. We are determined to foster peace between the people of Ukelle and Izzi.
“The crisis has affected the farming communities because the contending issue is land. We are exploring ways on how the conflict can be resolved. This crisis has far-reaching consequences on food security in the country. The federal government is more concerned about the loss of lives, destruction of property, markets and farmlands.
“We have come together with the Director General of National Boundary Commission (NBC), Dr. Mohammed Ahmed, and we are all heading to the affected area,” he said.
He advised the state government to explore ways of curbing inter-state conflicts with a view to promoting national unity.
Earlier, Esu expressed dismay that even when the two states signed a peace accord, the Ukelle people were attacked again after two days of the meeting.
He called on the NBC to show more visible actions, “so we can know clearly the areas we should enter and the ones we should not.
“Some pillars have been removed and need to be put in place, accordingly. Until this is done, people will still continue to claim areas which do not belong to them,” he said.