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Ezza-Effium crisis: Why we rejected Ebonyi govt’s white paper, peace pact – Group

Governor Nwfuru | File Image

The group alleged that contents of the state government’s white paper /peace pact are

“calculated, organized decimation and diminution of Ezza-Effium personality in particular, and Ezza people in general

By Nweze Anaga,

 Abakaliki

A group from the crisis-ravaged Effuim Community in Ohaukwu local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly, has rejected contents of the recently signed State government’s white paper and peace pact.

In a statement statement signed by High Chief Aligwe Mathias Chukwuma, the Chairman, Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly, and the Secretary, Dr. Bernard Orichi, described retired Bishop Okoro’s Peace Panel’s reports and recommendations as “a total departure and contradiction of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which gave every Nigerian  full rights of citizenship in any part of the country where he or she has lived for years and has contributed to the economic, infrastructural and social development of the area.”

The group said that the  recommendations of the Peace Panel and its implementation could better be described as “apartheid in the words of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).”

Also read: Six die in fresh communal crisis in Ebonyi

The group alleged that contents of the state government’s white paper /peace pact are

“calculated, organized decimation and diminution of Ezza-Effium personality in particular, and Ezza people in general.”

Besides, it held that the people who signed the peace pact on behalf of Ezza people did that out of compulsion and so did not represent tkhe interest of Ezza-Effium people.

The statement reads: “You are highly welcome to this important press briefing to drive home Ezza-Effium stand on the purported Peace Pact which, according to the Government White Paper Implementation Committee on Effium/Ezza-Effium Crisis, is in consonance with the Report of the Retired Bishop Okoro-led Peace Panel, in which some of our stakeholders were COMPELLED to sign against their free will.

“It is no longer  news that there has been a communal war in Effium Community which started in January 2021, as a result of power tussle between two members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers who were also political aids to the former Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State, Barr. Clement Odah, which has claimed many lives, destroyed properties worth billions of naira, while millions of people have been rendered homeless.

“The war lingered without any practical possible solution in sight, due to the inability of the past State Government, led by Engr. Dave Umahi, to provide genuine road map to peace.

“A Judicial Panel of Inquiry, chaired by a Customary Court of Appeal Judge in the State, Hon. Justice Omaka Elekwa, was constituted, with clergymen, royal fathers and other members. Another Peace Panel, made up of members of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by the Anglican Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Rt. Rev. Monday Nkwegu, was also constituted.

“The reports and recommendations of these two panels never saw the light of the day and the State Government never gave reasons for not implementing them. The question is, what happened to the reports of these Panels?

“On assumption of office, the incumbent Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Bldr Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, vowed to bring the war to an end and was already on course to actualize this dream as promised in order to avert further blood bath and save many more innocent men, women and children from going to their early graves. His Excellency immediately swung into action by constituting another Peace Panel with the Emeritus Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Okoro as Chairman, Rev. Father Charles Otu as Secretary, Rev. Father Donatus Oluwa Chukwu, who is the Vicar General of Abakaliki Catholic Diocese, and other stakeholders as members.

“When the Retired Bishop Okoro’s Peace Panel  submitted her report, an implementation committee, chaired by the Attorney General and Commissioner For Justice, Ebonyi State, Dr Ben Uruchi Odoh, was set up by Governor Francis Nwifuru to implement the purported Government White Paper emanating therefrom. Other members of the committee include Rev. Father Godwin Uguru, Rev. Scamb Nwokolo (Chairman, CAN; Ebonyi State), Barr. Roy Umahi, Barr. Albert Aloh (Solicitor General, Ebonyi State), Chief Mathias Adum (Principal Secretary to the Governor), and Justice Ogbunefi of the Ebonyi State High Court.

“The composition of these Committees which were made up of  clergymen, their reports and recommendations seem to be a total departure and contradiction of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which gave every Nigerian  full rights of citizenship in any part of the country where he or she has lived for years and has contributed to the economic, infrastructural and social development of the area.

The implementation committee of Dr Ben Uruchi Odoh said it would implement, to the letter, every recommendation in the White Paper emanating from Retired Bishop Okoro-led Peace Panel report.

“For the purpose of clarity, the1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), by virtue of Sections 25-32, defines who a citizen of Nigeria is, inclusive of mode of acquisition of citizenship. More so, the preceding section, which is Section 24, defines the duties of a Nigerian Citizen. Additionally, Chapter IV of the Constitution (as amended) provides for the Fundamental Human Rights of a Nigerian Citizen and human beings living in Nigeria.”

valoa2000@yahoo.com

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