From Fred Itua, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to act immediately and stop the spate of killings in Ehi-Amufu communities in Enugu State by suspected herdsmen and bandits in the last one year.
Coordinator, Enugu Good Governance Group, Odinaka Okechukwu in a chat with newsmen in Abuja, condemned the mindless attacks and said no fewer than 150 persons had killed in the attacks in the last one year.
According to Okechukwu, the attacks have sacked entire communities, forcing residents to seek refuge in Internally Displaced Personb(IDPs) camps in neighbouring communities; resulting into a massive humanitarian crisis.
The stakeholders called on the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba and other security chiefs in the country to step in and restore normalcy in the troubled community.
The group also condemned in strong terms attempts in some quarters to politicise the killings and crises which it said began long before the current administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
This was as it commended efforts by the State government to end the conflict in the warring zone even as it lamented the constitutional limitation of the State Governor to exercise the level of security powers required to end the conflict and restore peace in the community.
They subsequently called on President Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s armed forces to exercise his powers and stop the attacks, by bringing an end to the blood letting in Ehi-Amufu communities in Enugu State.
Okechukwu said: “We note with dismay and condemn the politicization of the Eha-Amufu crisis and twisting of the facts by one Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi and one Ken Asogwa during their sponsored television appearances where they blamed the Enugu State Governor for not taking action to address the crisis in Eha-Amufu.
“We also view as a calculated propaganda aimed at deceiving and misinforming the public to say that the Eha-Amufu was thrown into crisis because Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, who is an indigene of Mgbuji, Eha-Amufu is contesting for governorship on the platform of the Labour Party.
“We are not alone in the condemnation of this act and reckless utterances. The stakeholders from the seven autonomous communities of Eha-Amufu in a meeting held on 27th December 2022 at Eha-Amufu condemned and disclaimed the actions of Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi and his cohorts, stressing that they were misinforming the public.
“Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi, is not only resident in Abuja, hardly on ground to be properly abreast of developments at home. For instance, while he claims that Eha-Amufu is made up of nine autonomous communities, Eha-Amufu is actually made up of seven autonomous communities, namely Mgbuji, Abor Ishiala, Umuhu, Amede, Ihenyi, Aguamede, and Isu.
“Also, contrary to the misinformation by Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi and his cohorts that the Eha-Amufu killings started in 2020, the crisis has actually lasted for so many years and equally predates the Governor Ugwuanyi administration by many years. Again, whereas he claimed that the recent killings started on 8th December 2022, the killings started well before then and sadly heightened on 7th December 2022.
“Contrary to the misrepresentation of facts, we are aware that the Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has done a lot to address the challenge within the boundaries of the Constitution. Ugwuanyi is equally the first Governor to visit Eha-Amufu on a fact-finding mission since the beginning of the security crisis many years ago. Even before Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi’s misinformed media appearance, the Governor had facilitated the deployment of joint taskforce of the police and the military to Eha-Amufu to halt the recent killings and crisis.
“He has also donated relief materials and palliatives worth millions to the affected communities of Isi-Uzo LGA to address the humanitarian crisis arising from the conflicts and displacement.
“On 20th December 2022 Governor Ugwuanyi convened a meeting of critical stakeholders, including community, religious and political leaders of Eha-Amufu extraction to find internal cohesion to help them address their leadership gaps and disunity, power tussles, and fractionalization of the youth and neighbourhood security by some greedy community and political leaders to take control of the economic resources of the Eha-Amufu communities, which are helping to fuel the crisis.
“Before that, Governor Ugwuanyi had also held a similar meeting with Eha-Amufu stakeholders on January 8th, 2022. In both meetings, Eha-Amufu stakeholders admitted that they were partly the architects of their problems due to the internal power struggles and crisis, but which he has now helped to resolved.”