***Demands re-arrest, prosecution of 31 released detainees
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has expressed sadness over the recent attack of a community harbouring some victims of the massacre in Effium community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
According to media reports, the recent bloodletting left many dead bodies on their trail, as the community was yet to recover from the unfortunate incident.
In a statement released to newsmen Tuesday in Abuja by the AESID President, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, urged Governor Dave Umahi-led government to bring the perpetrators of the latest killings to justice.
The diaspora group also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the remanded Catholic Priest by security agencies within 48 hours.
Oluchukwu said: “We sadly recall that the crisis in Effium, which started since January 2021 and between Effium and Ezza-Effium has claimed many lives and led to many Ezza-Effium people taking refuge in Ohaogelode community and other locations in the State.
“Although the Police was yet to make an official statement detailing an account of the unfortunate incident, we however reminsce that, a video of the said incident circulating online showed that at least two persons were killed and some houses razed.
“In the said video, a victim was burnt to death while a building was still on fire while another dead victim, a pregnant woman, could be seen in the video with matchete cut wounds all over her body.”
The statement claimed that “governor Umahi-led government on has continued to pretend that it is working for the peace of the troubled community whereas, it is in essence aiding and abetting the heinous activities of the Uffiom warlords.
“We have stated it severally in the media that Umahi has been using the Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, one Clement Odaa- a native of Uffiom who has severally been accused and found to have used his official position to ferry arms and weapons and compromise the the peace and security moves by concerned parties and the government to continue the war while pretending to be waving an olive branch.
“This our position and fears is further heightened and validated by a press statement credited to the said Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Clement Odah which pretended to have condemned the attack.
Despite being the Chief Security Officer of the Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Odaa’s statement condemning the incident in strong terms as usual and reassuring of all that no stones will be left unturned to unravel the true circumstances that led to such avoidable loss of lives and properties has become his habitual, perennial and ironical way of celebrating anytime his people wantonly attacks and kills Ezza people.
“AESID wonders how Odaa who was reported by the State government to be in Police custody and undergoing investigations for his infamous and ignoble roles since the beginning of the over one year old crises could claim that “Council has initiated a spirited and discreet investigation to unveil the perpetrators of the act and ensure that justice is done.”
AESID, however, challenged the Umahi-led government in the state to tell the world the rational behind the release of “31 remanded Uffiom youths arrested with various guns and other weapons some months ago while they went to attack an Ezza settlement in Effium?
“How can a government claim through an entire Exco decision that the suspects were ‘brainwashed’ into carrying arms? Who brainwashed them and have those who procured these arms for them been brought to book? Were the suspects successfully disarmed and thorough investigations carried out by the security agencies?
“AESID continues to maintain that so long as the Umahi administration is not keen in altruistically answering and addressing some of these questions posed regarding the ongoing carnage in Effium, it cannot be exonerated by reasonable Ebonyians from having a hand, enabling and ennobling or at least being a fifth columnist in the crisis.
“Yet, the same Umahi government has continued to detain a Catholic priest, Rev. Timothy Ngwu for merely extending his corporal works of mercy to his stranded Parishioners in the troubled area.
“It is the wisdom of this apolitical, non-profit organization to immediately demand the re-arrest and full-scale, unbiased trial of the said Odaa and indeed all those who have a hand in the killings and particularly the release of the 31 Uffiom suspects.”