- Stakeholders in Benue and Ebonyi state have continued to lament over the communal clashes in both states
- Communities in the border communities of both states have been at loggerheads for almost a decade
- Those in the know say the crisis may linger despite the deployment of Nigerian Army troops to the affected areas
Ado - Despite the deployment of troops to Benue and Ebonyi states’ borders, the lingering crisis between the Ezza people of Benue state and Effium people of Ebonyi state may persist if the root course of the crisis is not tackled.
Recall that the Senate, a few days ago had requested the Defence, the Nigeria Police Force, and other relevant security agencies to establish a base in the boundaries between Ebonyi and Benue states in order to end the incessant attacks in the areas.
This was after the consideration of a motion titled “Incessant bloody clash between bordering communities of Benue and Ebonyi states, urgent need for Senate intervention,” raised by the senator representing Benue South senatorial district, Senator Patrick Abba Moro.
While confirming that troops have now been mobilised to the Benue boundaries as requested by the senator and also thanking the senator for his intervention, the local government chairman of Ado, Comrade James Oche told Legit.ng exclusively that it’s equally important that the root cause of the crisis is permanently addressed instead of the current effort which he tagged ‘window-dressing.’
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How Ezza/ Effium crisis started
According to Comrade Oche, the Ebonyi/ Benue crisis started 12 to 15 years ago. He said prominent as at then was the Angla/Ungbo end. But since last year, there has been a fallout between the Effiomites and the Ezzas.
“It will interest you to note that this has nothing to do with Benue state or Ado local government. The Ezzas and Effiomites are dominantly in Ebonyi state. Ezzas occupy at least 6 local governments in Ebonyi state.
“So this issue actually started in Ebonyi state over the control of a motor park in Ohaukwu local government.
“What we are doing in Benue state can actually be called window-dressing because except the disagreement leading to this crisis is resolved in Ebonyi, the Ezzas and Effiomites in Benue will have no peace.”
He likened the situation to that of Tiv-speaking people who are scattered across other states of the federation.
According to the Ado council boss:
“The situation can be likened to Tiv-speaking people who are dominant in Benue state but we have them in Taraba and Nasarawa states.
“So the Effiomites and the Ezzas are dominant in Ebonyi, but we have them in Ado local government of Benue state. And they all belong to the umbrella body of their ethnic groups.”
Ebonyi ethnic crisis extending into Benue
Oche lamented that any ethnic crisis affecting the two ethnic groups in Ebonyi state is constantly being extended to Ado local government. He said that at any slight opportunity in a situation of crisis, they will turn his local government into a theatre of war.
He added the situation got worse when Ebonyi state government deployed the military to their own borders.
“But by the grace of God, through the Benue state government and the senator representing the zone who took their plights to the National Assembly, hope has returned. The army has since deployed its men. We were there with the commander of Operation Whirl Stroke.
“As of yesterday, the place is still deserted, but we are hopeful that with the presence of the military, the displaced persons will return home.”
Oche pleads with Ebonyi state government
The chairman said that the current arrangement is an ad-hoc one, urging the Ebonyi state government to address the internal crisis bedevilling its state. According to him, by resolving the crisis in Ebonyi state, the crisis on the Benue border will be automatically resolved.
Oche further pleaded for the permanent location of a battalion because the affected area is a major security flashpoint in the state so as to solve even other crises.
He listed other possible ethnic differences to include that of Angle/Ugbom, and the Izzi challenges within the Ado/Ebonyi borders.
How four persons were killed in the crisis in 2019
Legit.ng had reported the killing of four persons on Friday, May 3, 2019, in a crisis involving both parties.
Several efforts have been put in place since the incident, even as lawmakers have called for serious security measures in the disputed areas.
However, the crisis has continued unabated as the people within the troubled areas are constantly being displaced.
Pray for God’s intervention in Nigeria, Gov Okowa urges religious leaders
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has called on religious leaders in different denominations in the country to organise special prayer sessions for God to intervene in the affairs of the nation.
Okowa made the call on Tuesday, February 15 while playing host to the president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke at Government House, Asaba.
The Delta state chief executive noted that Nigeria as a nation needs prayers for God to positively turn things around for the overall good and development of the country, emphasising that the myriads of problems confronting the nation require prayers for them to be surmounted.