At least one person was reportedly feared dead in Isu Community, Arochukwu local government area of Abia State in a fresh communal conflict between the community and Utuma, a community in Biasa Local Government of Cross River state.
The victim, Okoro Ukwaa was said to have been murdered in his farm on Friday February 16, 2019, in the fresh invasion of the Arochukwu community.
It was learnt that the crisis between the two communities started on April 18,2018 as a result of a disputed portion of land with a large deposits of limestone between the two communities.
A group from the community led by a former secretary to the state government, Mazi Donatus Okorie has condemned the attack describing it as the most callous.
Okorie expressed regret that since the attack started, the Abia state government has not done anything concrete to broker peace between the two communities.
He pointed out that the attack on the community since last year was better imagined than experienced, adding that it was almost like a Holocaust because over 30 lives had been lost while properties Worth millions of naira was destroyed.
He revealed that over 15,000 people from Isu communities including Iheosu, Abaisu, Amachi and Alaoso, who fled their homes for safety were still refugees in many communities in Arochukwu Local Government since April last year.
He said, “The situation as it is now calls for an urgent intervention by the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. The crisis dates back to April 18, 2018, when suddenly without provocation our Cross River state neighbors from Utuma and their cronies launched an attack of monumental proportion against the defenseless people of Isu clan with its concomitant effects of loss in terms of loss of lives and properties.
“But it’s saddening to note that since this crisis started the Abia state Government has not taken any concrete step to stop further loss of lives and properties and broker peace between the warring communities.
“We have made series of petitions and documented reports to the state government and Police on the crisis. When our Governor visited Arochukwu Local Government on a grand civic reception his attention was drawn to this crisis. When he visited the traditional rulers from our Local Government they still reinforced our earlier petition on the need for a lasting solution to the crisis, but it is regrettable to observe that nothing has been done.
“On Friday February 15, 2019, when people where preparing for the postponed Presidential and national Assembly election, we got a very pathetic news that one of our illustrious son was murdered in cold blood in his farm.
“This latest cold blooded murder was the most atrocious, devastating and tragic and the entire Isu clan is still in a state of absolute melancholy because of the loss.
“We are using this medium to categorically and without equivocation appeal to the Abia state government to come to Isu and help us. if urgent and decisive action has been taken before now this recent murder would have been averted.
“Isu people appears to have been abandoned to their fate by their own Government. For the avoidance of doubts if this issue is not addressed promptly it will have obvious implications in this crucial election period. Anything done by the Abia state government to stop further killings and more especially for those who fled their homes to return back and resume their normal lives will be highly appreciated, because they are part and parcel of Abia state nay the federal republic of Nigeria”.
When contacted the commissioner for information in the state, chief John Okiyi kalu said the state government has not relented in its efforts to restore peace between the warring communities.
He said the deputy Governor of the state was representing the state government in boundary committee that was working hard to stop future crisis in the area.
Also the Police Public Relation Officer in the state Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna confirmed that the Police was working hard to maintain peace between the two communities with the boundary crisis.
He added that the Police had yet to receive the official report on the fresh attack in the area.
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