Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi has ordered the suspension of Mr Declan Ovunna, Coordinator of Alike Development Centre in Ikwo Local Government Area over the renewed violence by youths from a community.
Umahi also suspended other political appointees from the community and the centre and asked the police to arrest them.
“It was my intention to dissolve the development centre through the state House of Assembly so that people would see that this government is not weak.
“The fact that the government is Godly does not mean that it is weak as the management committee members from the centre, special assistants, technical assistants, vigilante heads, youth leaders, among others, are suspended and should be arrested,” Umahi said.
The people of Noyo-Echilaike in Ikwo Local Government Area situated in the centre and Enyigba in Abakaliki Local Government Area were locked in a bloody land dispute which led to the destruction of properties and the death of several persons.
The governor convened a stakeholders’ meeting involving heads of security agencies in the state on April 27 where several resolutions were reached aimed at ensuring ceasefire.
Youths from Noyo Echialike community, however, reneged on the agreement and destroyed a school and several house in Enyigba on Saturday which made the governor to suspend the coordinator and other political appointees.
The governor further directed that the salaries of the affected officers be aggregated and the funds used to reconstruct the destroyed school at Enyigba.
“Their suspension would subsist till the school is fully reconstructed and I will go and inspect it myself.
“The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and my Principal Secretary should present the aggregated funds to the state executive council which would set up a committee for the reconstruction. The heads of security agencies in the state should contribute personnel to participate in the direct labour process for the reconstruction as the affected appointees must vacate their offices immediately.
“The state commissioner of police should ensure their immediate arrest while the attorney general and commissioner for justice should secure their detention order for arson. The SSG should immediately issue a security query to Mr John Nnabo, Chairman of Ikwo LGA for being absent at this occasion,” he said.
He called on stakeholders of both communities to urge their people to maintain peace because human life was sacred and cannot be equated with any psychical possession, including land.
“I earnestly thank the people of Inyimegu and Ekpomaka communities of Ikwo LGA for maintaining peace after the crisis which engulfed them and this should be emulated by all,” he said.
Dr Kelechi Igwe, the state Deputy Governor who hails from Noyo–Echilaike community said that his people denied complicity in the arson at their warring neighbour’s community.
“We the stakeholders, informed them of the ceasefire resolutions and directive of the government but were surprised to hear of the renewed hostilities which led to the burning of schools and buildings in Enyigba. We went back to confront them at our ancestral home and they denied complicity in the arson having decided to abide with the resolutions,” he said.
Mr Francis Nwifuru, Speaker of the State House f Assembly who hails from Izzi LGA where Enyigba is situated, lamented that his people were unduly provoked by their Ikwo neighbours.
“We always abide with all resolutions to ensure peaceful co-existence with them but they seem to take advantage of such because we do no not have a governor or a deputy. The crisis started since the regime of the immediate past Governor Martin Elechi who is also from the area as we should be truthful while seeking solutions,” he said.
Rev. Father Abraham Nwali, the Chairman of the Committee set up by the governor to investigate the crisis, noted that both parties cooperated with the committee during its investigations.
Nwali who is the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the Governor on Religion and Welfare Matters recommended, among other resolutions, that the government should immediately confiscate the contentious land, suspend development projects in both areas. (NAN)