Ebonyi Killings: Group Says Discovery of Mineral Deposits Causing Attacks, Decries ‘Unfair’ Arrests
Revelations have emerged on why killing of defenceless persons has continued in Effium, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, despite public outcry.
The dastardly acts carried out by yet to be identified gunmen is allegedly connected to the discovery of mineral deposits in the area.
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) said “it has come to the notice of AESID that the discovery of some mineral deposits such as lead, Tin, Zinc and some deposits of crude oil is the main reason the Korri natives sponsored and believably backed by the State government are hellbent on wiping out the rest of other dwellers in Effium and the Ezzas who have the highest population from the area.”
In a newsletter on Friday by the group’s President, Amb. Paschal Oluchukwu, AESID said the desperation of an unnamed” billionaire investor” from Anambra state to mine the discovered minerals may be responsible for the mayhem.
The group said it had “led to the loss of hundreds of lives and destruction of property worth millions of naira by suspected hired militia.”
The group stated further: “Recall that we had always raised the alarm and condemned the ongoing carnage in Effium which first started on January 22nd this year. So far, an uncountable number of souls particularly of Ezza descent have been lost to the violent attacks.”
The group said it is not against any businessman mining mineral deposits in any land so long as it meets the requirements of the law.
It however said that it “is miffed by the insidiously desperate attempts to favour one side against the other and perpetrate heinous violent crimes against those it feels could be an obstacle or opposition to its planned forceful and secret mining activities in Effium. This is insane and downrightly condemnable and we so do!”
The non-governmental group insisted that the government must desist from the clampdown and prosecution of concerned citizens who are speaking up over this matter.
“The attempts to clampdown, arrest and detain some Ezza stakeholders for voicing out their outrage over these dastardly attacks including the detention of a member, representing Ezza South Constituency in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Chris Usulor by the DSS is highly condemned by this body.”
This is as it added that the declaration of AESID leader, Paschal Oluchukwu, as a wanted person in the state is” laughable.”
While urging the State Governor, Dave Umahi, to act quickly to restore normalcy to the affected community by ordering the arrest and prosecution of the local government Chairman Clement Odah and indeed others allegedly implicated in the crime.
Meanwhile, Governor Umahi on Thursday, March 31st, ordered the 13 local government council chairmen in the state to immediately form vigilante groups and ensure placement of crossbars at strategic locations across communities in the state.
The measures, according to the state government, was to forestall further breakdown of law and order in the affected communities and the state at large.
The governor gave the order against the backdrop of Monday’s attack of four communities in the state by alleged herdsmen who killed at least 18 persons, including a Methodist priest, while several others were injured.