By Jonathan Ugbal
The Ebonyi State Government has sought the Nigerian Army to pay more attention to its border areas with Cross River State decimated by communal conflicts between communities of both states.
Several communities have been at war in the past decade and the Ebonyi state governor, Mr. Dave Umahi told the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai while carrying out the exercise Egwu Eke II which was launched last weekend, the Army should take a look at certain areas that were conflict prone.
The Army chief had visited the state to intimate the governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Kelechi Igwe of the exercise targeted at improving the security situation of the zone which according to him, was very strategic to the security of the country and training of tje military in basic internal security reports the NATION.
“The army have taken into cognizance the security of the people in deployment of it’s personnel for the operation,” he said and maintained that the Army will liaise and work with other security agencies in the region.
“The army is very sensitive to the cultural norms of the people and will abide by all the rules of engagement and code of conduct that have been laid down which is quite in tandem with the Constitution,” he said.
Also, he explained that some of the activities of the exercise will include Patrols, indoor battle exercises, Civil-Military cooperation activities like medical outreach, sanitation, donation of books to schools among others.
The state government pledged its support to the Army.
There are three areas between both states currently prone to conflict.
These are the Adadama in Abi local government area of Cross River and their neighbors in Amagu in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state.
The Osopong communities in Obubra local government area of Cross River are also in a persistent conflict with their neighbors in Izzi, Ikwo and Abakaliki local government areas of Ebonyi state.
The conflict between Osopong and Izzi has reared it’s head about three times in 2017 with at least 15 feared dead so far.
Also the Ukelle in Yala local government area of Cross River state has been on a hide and seek game with Izzi local government area of Ebonyi state after a deadly war a few years ago.
The deputy governors of both states have been meeting to discuss peace moves.
However, both governors stormed out of a peace meeting with the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo earlier in the year.