Jude Okoro, Calabar
The Federal Government has decried the incessant communal clashes between Ukelle community in Yala local government area of Cross River 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.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), 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 federal government commitment and readiness in restoring peace and order between the two waring communities.
Dambazau, who said he is 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, destruction of farmlands and properties worth millions of naira lost.
He said: “Sometime 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 same issue. The Federal Government will not give up in ensuring that all these crises are brought to an end. We are determined to foster peace between the people of Ukelle and the 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 properties, markets and farmlands.
“We have come together with the Director General of National Boundary Commission, Dr Mohammed Ahmed, 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 of promoting national unity.
Earlier, Esu said 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 National Boundary Commission to show more visible actions so that we can know clearly the areas we should enter and the one we should not.
“Some pillars have been removed; all these need to be put in place accordingly. Until this is done, people will still continue to claim areas that do not belong to them’’, he said.