By Jonathan Ugbal
Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi on Wednesday raised alarm over a looming war between the state and neighboring Cross River State.
DailyPost reports that Mr. Umahi stated during the commissioning of an Urban Treatment plant at the Abakpa cantonment of the 82 Division, Nigerian Army in Enugu state where he said despite the a detachment of soldiers stationed at the border towns of both states, tension was still rising and called for the Army to intensify efforts in ending the carnage in the area.
“We have very disturbing situation over the boundary dispute with Cross River, be it at Ikwo, Achi, be it at Abakiliki axis, be it at Izzi. The stories are quite disturbing.
“But I want to thank you because the GOC has demonstrated that this country is a country that is united in love. He has done everything he could in standing with us, shuttling between Abakiliki and Cross River States to see how he could establish peace.
“If nothing is done, it has gotten to a period that it could be seen that as a war between Ebonyi and Cross River States. God forbid; but I am telling you the truth as the Chief Security Officer of Ebonyi State.
“Several of our people have been slaughtered in the area, thousands of houses have been razed down”, he said, stressing that the situation had already assumed a war-like dimension,” Umahi said and called for more troops to be deployed to the area.
“Something has to be done. It is difficult and disheartening to sit and see our people being slaughtered, houses in thousands being burnt. It is not what we all signed before our people.
“So, I’m appealing for enough soldiers. The little we have, we have positioned them to all these troubled areas. So, I appeal to you sir, to do everything you can to assist us. Give us more soldiers to enforce peace between Ebonyi and Cross River States,” he said.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai said the Army will remain apolitical in its dealings in line with its constitutional mandate.
Buratai said the project which cost an estimated NGN200 million was executed by Nigerian Army engineers and commended the Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Ground Officer Commanding the 82 Division of the Army, Major General A.B. Abubakar for their roles in ensuring the project was completed.
The Izzi, Abakaliki and Ezza people of Ebonyi state and the Ukelle in Yala, Osopong and Ofonekang in Obubra and the Adadama in Abi local government areas of Cross River State have clashed several times in the past 5 years leading to loss of lives and properties in the tune of hundreds of millions.
Several peace committees have been set up with the deputy governors of both states meeting severally from the last administration with no reasonable progress.
But, Nigeria’s acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo had begun taking steps in resolving the crisis with the governors of both states leaving a meeting with him earlier this year wearing long faces.