Effium crisis: Ebonyi community alerts Nwifuru of dubious accord

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Some leaders of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction in Effium community of Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have cried out to the state governor, Francis Nwifuru, against the attempts by powerful land speculators to dispossess them of their ancestral land.

Two weeks ago, a peace pact was entered into by the warring communities in Ohaukwu Local Government Area over the protracted dispute between Effium and Ezza Effium communities.

But, renouncing the development, the Ezza-Ezekuna leaders alleged that the influential members within the implementation committee set up by the state government, working in cahoots with land grabbers, beguiled some of their representatives to sign a dubious document purported as peace pact. 

“We have already sent a letter of protest to His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, notifying him that the purported endorsement of the peace pact was procured under duress and lacking in voluntary consent or real volition,” the leaders stated.

The leaders, including Justice Anselm A. Nwigwe, Prophet Freeman Nwonu, Elechi Benedict, Hon. Vitalis Igboke, and Utobo Onele Joseph, among others, said the protest letter to Governor Nwifuru became necessary to put the records straight.

In the letter, copies of which were made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the Ezekuna leaders assured the Ebonyi State Governor of their commitment to his efforts to restore peace to Effium community.

The letter read: “We most respectfully bring to your esteem notice that we suspect strongly that your Excellency is not aware of the breach of due process and bias, which dogged the peace panel and its purported report.

“The implementation committee arbitrarily, and deceptively, conspired to compel our representatives to sign the purported peace pact under duress.”

The Ezekuna leaders disclosed that contrary to the promise by the Committee Chairman on February 23, 2024, that a copy of the peace pact would be made available to everyone on March 14, 2024, which was the rescheduled date, rather than hand out the copies for all to go and study, he merely read out the contents and compelled delegates to sign.

“We complained against this breach of probity and due process and rejected certain aspects of the contents of the peace pact, particularly those that violated the constitution, but we were over ruled by the committee.

“Specifically, the affected portions stated that the traditional stool in Effium community is incontestable but exclusive to Effium people, and that Ezza-Effium people would only have semi autonomous status with village head only.

“The offensive section also stated that royalty from mineral resources is also exclusive to Effium people, who were erroneously addressed as landlords,” the leaders added.

While pleading with Governor Nwifuru not to allow the accord to stand, the Ezekuna leaders reminded him that Amuda people in Ezza North Local Government Area are Orrin people like the Effiums, but are granted autonomous community status there.

The leaders added: “Recall too that Ezza-Efium had, under Edict No. 9 of 1976 of old Anambra State, been given three autonomous communities, namely, Umuezeokoha, Umuezeoka and Iza Kpakpaji.

“We humbly request Your Excellency to painstakingly read the peace pact, which the committee described as a counterpart of the white paper, and kindly cause both to be withdrawn, because their provisions are largely against out constitutional rights as a people.

“These offensive concoctions are impediments to the return of enduring peace to Effium community, since they do not select the traditions, aspirations and historical bonds that bind the community together.”

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