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Peace Agreement Report Not Accepted By Ebonyi Community

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The Effium community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has declined to accept a peace panel report regarding the ongoing three-year conflict, authored by the Bishop Emeritus of Abakiliki Diocese, Rt. Rev. Fr. Michael Nnachi Okoro.

Since January 21, 2021, the Ezza-Effium and Effium communities have been embroiled in a conflict resulting in fatalities and the devastation of property valued at billions of naira.

Their rationale for declining the peace pact report was grounded in their belief that it violated their fundamental human liberties.

As per The Eastern Updates, the genesis of the war can be traced back to a leadership dispute within two factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at a community motor park. This dispute quickly spiraled out of control, resulting in numerous casualties and extensive damage to property.

Efforts by the former Governor David Umahi’s administration and the Federal Government to halt the conflict, although earnest, failed to achieve the desired resolution.

To secure lasting peace in the communities marred by conflict, Governor Francis Nwifuru appointed a peace panel chaired by a retired Catholic bishop in the state, Reverend Michael Okoro. Following the endorsement of a peace accord by the warring factions, the panel released a white paper.

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However, the people of Effium rejected both the white paper and the peace pact outright.

Under the banner of the Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly, the populace asserted that certain stakeholders were coerced into signing the peace pact against their volition.

This claim was articulated in a statement jointly signed by Chief Aligwe Matthias Chukwuma, serving as the assembly’s chairman, and Dr. Bernard Orichi, who serves as its secretary.

The statement was made available to newsmen in Abakaliki, the state capital.

Their contention stemmed from the belief that the white paper violated the stipulations of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees every Nigerian the right to reside anywhere within the country. They were perplexed by the characterization of themselves as tenants within the Effium community as indicated in the white paper.

They also voiced their dissatisfaction with the provision in the white paper that prohibited them from selecting a traditional leader for the Effium community, a tradition they had faithfully observed for many years.

“The report which erroneously posited Ezza-Effium people, who have lived in their God-given community since time immemorial, as tenants, is a malicious and misleading report orchestrated by supposed men of God. What an unprofessional and disreputable contradiction!

‘This is wrong, and a calculated, organised decimation and diminution of Ezza-Effium personality in particular, and Ezza people in general. We are simply accommodative and in keeping with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), which gave all of us equal rights to citizenship.

“We, Ezza-Effium people, therefore, reject, in its totality, any Peace Pact or White Paper that tends to deprive us of any of our constitutional rights and privileges in Effium community, inclusive of the rights over our entitlements, freedoms, lives and properties.

The Eastern Updates 

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