Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State Tuesday, confirmed fresh killings in Ebonyi State land dispute, even as the governor declared the National Coordinator of Association of Ebonyi State Indigene in Diaspora, (AESIED) wanted over his write up which he said allegedly ignited fresh crisis in Ezza, Ezza Effium communities.
Umahi made the disclosure shortly after expanded security meeting with security chiefs and local government chairmen in the State, at the Exco Chambers, Old Government House Abakaliki.
He said two persons wwere killed in the Iyionu and Ezillo communities, in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State land dispute, while accusing a Councilor from Ezillo of causing the killings.
He said “On the Iyiolu Ezillo, this misunderstanding has been there for a very long time, some of these land disputes have been there over the years and the Christain Association of Nigeria, CAN, under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, has been working very hard and had gotten to a level of conclusion where by state government under our law declared the land in dispute buffer zone.
“But unfortunately, out of greed one councilor from Ezillo took and expatriate investor to the disputed land and that resulted in shooting and killings where two people died. But the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki has directed Fr. Abraham Nwali, to step in and he has done that. He is in meeting with the leaders and they have agreed that there will be no more shootings and killings and that they will abide by any decision that the government committee which is entirely CAN, will come up with.
“However, the security council meeting today directed the immediate arrest of the Councilor and the for him to be prosecuted immediately.
Umahi, also declared the national coordinator of AESIED, Ambassador Oluchukwu Pascal, wanted following his write up which was published in one of the national dailies. He said the write up ignited fresh killings in Ezza, Ezza Effium communities of Ebonyi state.
” I will declare this ambassador Oluchukwu Pascal wanted I have decided that if he doesn’t come to answer we are to press prosecution charges against him… he should come and defend what he wrote that resulted in fresh killings in Effium. This is very important and we are determined within the next two weeks to get the people of Effium back to their homes”.
The governor revealed that there are no herdsmen in the state at present, stating that they vacated Ebonyi on their own. He also advised them not to return Ebonyi for now until tension is doused.
Umahi said, “On the issue of herdsmen we want to put it on record that there is no herdsman in Ebonyi state as at now. We didn’t ask then to leave. They left on their own meaning that they were privy to the attacks on Ebonyi State.
“I have been talking to the national leadership of Miyetti Allah, please beg them not to return for now, because what is going on in the various States, no state governor has control of bandits. And because of the killings of defensless Ebonyi people, and they have all left the state. So for their safety, they should please not return back now, there is still very high tension. Please Ebonyi state is under tension because of these killings and we will want them to stay there until such a time it will be safe for the traditional ones to show face.
“… We will confront any herdsman coming to Ebonyi State Ak 47. I have directed that they should be confronted. If you are coming to Ebonyi State with AK 47, and my directive is just obvious because Mr. President had already directed as such. So if you are herdsman and you are coming to Ebonyi with Ak 47 you will be confronted with the same measure you are bringing to Ebonyi State.
“Our problem is not only the herdsmen, we are still killing ourselves, we are killing police we are burning police stations which means that the South East should know that our problem is not just herdsmen, that we are problems to ourselves. And we enjoin leaders to rise up to condemn this. There is a little monster that if it is encouraged will consume all of us beyond the herdsmen menace.
“On the open grazing, there is no need of talking about that because there is no cow in Ebonyi state, there are no herdsmen in Ebonyi state for now. But the position of the state government is that we have a law on open grazing and the natives cannot continue to blame security agencies because they cannot be everywhere. So we are directing the vigilante to enforce the ban on open grazing in the state. At the national level, the governors have said no open grazing we don’t expect the security people to be everywhere but working with the vigilante.
“The local government chairmen should enforce the ban on open grazing, anytime the healthy herdsmen will return. Because we will confront any herdsman coming to Ebonyi State with Ak 47. I have directed that they should be confronted. If you are coming to Ebonyi State with AK 47, and my directive is just obvious because Mr. President had already directed as such. So if you are herdsman and you are coming to Ebonyi with Ak 47 you will be confronted with the same measure you are bringing to Ebonyi State.
“We condemn totally the killings of policemen and burning of police stations in South East. They are not been done by herdsmen, they are done by people across the South East. Bandits and criminals, and my directive to the policemen isif you see anybody coming to kill you demobilize the person, that is the rule of engagement. Police people should not fold their hands and be killed, vehicles burnt, police stations burnt” added.