Communal War: Open Letter To Abi State Constituency BY JOHN GAUL LEBO

In Breaking News, Columnists, Opinion

1. Dear constituents, let us have an end to communal hostilities among the communities of The Bahumuno Nation in Abi local government.

2. The Bahumuno Nation in Abi local government are a peculiar and unique hospitable and hugely industrious people around the world.

3. Their contribution to state and national development cannot be under estimated. Over a decade ago, the Ebom and Ebijakara extraction of the Bahumuno Nation fought among themselves consequent upon which Ebijakara community does no longer exist. Every effort, legal and statutory to restore Ebijakara community back to their ancestral home has proved abortive. Since then, Ebijakara has sought refuge in Usumutong community.

4. The current communal crisis between Ediba and Usumutong, Usumutong and Ebom apart been unnecessary and avoidable cannot be resolved with Ebijakara out of the context.

5. Tension, threats, fear and cases of fighting, and deaths on the 3 communities of Ediba-Usumutong, Usumutong-Ebom and the insinuations of the connivance of Ebijakara is an issue that calls for urgent foundational peace process.

6. The leaders of Bahumuno nation must first of all embrace peace and desist from the state of denial and blame staking.

Government is limited where indigenous communities with same ethnic and homogenous root go to war with brothers and spill innocent blood with reckless abandon.

7. There must be an end to hostilities between all parties concerned and government must be allowed to continue its intervention and peace process.

John Gaul Lebo, Speaker Cross River State House of Assembly

8. The House of Assembly facilitated an inter communal dispute parlay headed by the Obol Lopon of Ugep and the paramount ruler of Biase earlier in the year to intervene to no avail despite the effort of the Obol. The last meeting 24hours to the conflict was indefinite.

9. A joint peace committee of all Bahumuno notable elders and leaders who set up a standing committee tried to no avail.

The lone effort of the current commissioner for international development, Honorable Francis Etta also tried to no avail.

10. On Tuesday this week acting on security tip off, government drafted a team of police and soldiers to Ebom and Usumutong communities, had a meeting with the paramount ruler of Abi in Usumutong.

11. Despite assurance from both sides, the communities still went to war with heavy casualties resulting therefrom including lose of lives and properties including the palace of the paramount ruler of Abi, elder statesman AVM Eko Osim (rtd) house alongside 9 other houses in Usumutong.

12. The House of Assembly has therefore fixed an emergency seating on Monday to resolve and mandate the executive to set up a commission of inquiry to bring the perpetrators to justice, while protecting the lives and properties of citizens.

13. In the interim, more security team have been drafted to the area, the State emergency management agency has been deployed in the area to intervene immediately.

14. The commissioner for health has been mandated to dispatch a team of doctors and other medical personnel to the area. I am doing everything within my powers to send as much relief to those affected, you are my people and you are my first priority.

Your pain is my pain, your sufferings are my sufferings. Please let us live in peace. We call on all parties to ceasefire and allow peace to rain .

Your Son,
John Gaul Lebo.

John Gaul Lebo, a lawyer and speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, writes in from Calabar.

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