Ebonyi LG Boss, House Member Arrested Over Escalating Communal Killings

The chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Mr Clement Oda, and the member representing Ohaukwu North State Constituency, Mr Chinedu Awo, were Monday arrested on the orders of Gov Dave Umahi for their alleged roles in the continued hostilities in Ezza Effium and Effium communities of the state.

Engr Umahi gave the directive during a meeting with some stakeholders of the communities at Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki. He also ordered the arrest of the spokesperson of Effium, Dr James Agina, and declared the spokesperson of the Ezza, Mr Titus Nworie, wanted.

Gov Umahi further suspended all political appointees from Ezza Effium for being absent during the meeting. According to him, the meeting was called to find a lasting solution to the nagging crisis. He also threatened that he might ask the federal government to deploy troops to the area.

In his words, “Anybody who is not a security person that is found with a gun must be demobilized by all means. Those that are calling for war, I will root them out. It is on note that leaders from both sides are the ones instigating the killings, crises and burning of houses. All political appointees that are absent in this security meeting are hereby suspended from office, including the retired permanent secretary.”

Our correspondent reports that the council chairman, who was present at the meeting, was subsequently arrested by the police while Mr Chinedu Awo, who was hitherto in military detention, was brought to the meeting and handed over to the police. The current arrest makes it the second time Governor Umahi directed the arrest of the council chairman and the House member.

Similarly, eight stakeholders from Isi Nkwo and Abomege in Onicha Local Government Area of the state were also arrested on the orders of the governor. The arrest followed the renewed killings over a disputed land by the two communities. To this end, he directed the state police commissioner, Mr Aliyu Garba, to obtain a court order ‘for their detention pending when they revealed the names of those behind the killings’.

He added that the state government had forwarded a request, through a committee, to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to find a truce over the disputed land. He also ordered the police and the army to demobilize any individual with arms in the area, urging political appointees from the area to embrace peace or face the consequences.

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