By Freedom Ajala, Abakaliki
Youths numbering hundreds from Izzi Nnodo- a populous clan in Ebonyi State Saturday barricaded the entrance gate of the Government House Abakaliki when they protested the alleged killings of their villagers by neighbouring Ikwo and Cross River communities.
The Chief of Staff to Ebonyi State Government House, Dr. Offor Okorie was locked out of the Government House gate by the angry youths who despite the heavy presence of security men insisted that they must see the Governor to register their grievances before they would grant passage to anyone.
They youths who bore placards with various inscriptions such as; ‘We need Government’s intervention’,Izzi people are peace-loving’ and Ebonyi State Government, are you still alive?’ among others accused the State Government of paying less attention to proffering a lasting solution to the crisis.
They also accused the police and other security agencies posted to the area of compromising their stand which they said have given their aggressors an unfair advantage to deal with them.
Addressing newsmen, the National President of Izzi Nnodo Youths Forum, Comr. Ben Nwovu claimed that over one hundred persons have been killed as a result of the inter-communal conflict.
“We have come to let the Government know that upon its stand to calm the crisis in our area, the Izzi people decided to stand by the peace truce given by the Governor. But despite that, the people of Cross River are still killing our people, damaging our houses and maiming our people. It is because of these that we have decided to come to tell the world that we can no longer fold our arms and watch our people get killed.
He accused the government of Cross River State of funding the killings and destruction of property of their people and called for immediate intervention of government at all levels to enable the thousands of its displaced citizens from across the five affected communities of Enyigba, Amachi, Edda,Okpo-itumo and Igbeagu communities feed, cloth and find shelter for themselves stressing that they have been rendered homeless as a result of the outbreak of the crisis.
Addressing the protesters, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala said he has noted their concerns and would present same to the government.
While thanking them for conducting themselves peacefully, he assured them that the State government is leaving no stone unturned in tackling the crisis.
“If you have been following the trend, you will know that government is doing enough to bring the situation to an absolute end. Both parties will enjoy the peace moves we are instituting in that place”, Ugbala stated, promising that their people who were arrested would be released.
The PPRO Ebonyi State command, DSP Jude Madu in his reaction dismissed the allegation of compromise leveled against the Police as baseless and unfounded maintaining that the police would at all times remain professional in their conduct to ensure the safety and protection of the entire Nigerian citizenry.