An Open Letter To Ambassador Frank Nchita Ogbuewu And The Effiom Peace Committee

Written By Ezza Ohaukwu Indigenous Assembly (EIA)

Dear Ambassador Frank Nchita Ogbuewu and Esteemed Members of the Effium Peace Committee,

We write this letter on behalf of the Ezza Ohaukwu Indigenous Assembly (EIA) to you, the chairman and members of the Ogbuewu-led Effium Peace Committee, to urge the speedy and strict implementation of the government’s gazetted Whitepaper concerning the crisis between the aboriginal Orring people of Cross River, also known as Ufiom, and the Abakaliki people of Ezza Ohaukwu in Effium community.

As you are well aware, through your thorough engagements with relevant stakeholders, you have found that the crisis was avoidable and was actually precipitated by a leadership tussle within the Effium branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). It has become clear that this crisis is not related to any land dispute in the community.

Additionally, it has been identified that some individuals enabled the crisis for the apparent purpose of appropriating lands and valuable surviving properties of the heterogeneous peoples of the community.
Your recent deployment of the Nigerian Constitution to address pressing issues in this degenerated crisis has laid a framework for peace throughout the state.

By adhering to constitutional principles, you have demonstrated statesmanship and an understanding that the days of fighting and conquering peoples for the sake of land grabs are over.

Anyone with legitimate claims over properties must seek redress through the law courts for any form of distress. This new approach set by your committee is expected to reverberate peace across the state, disappointing those who stoke ethnic tensions for the sake of land appropriation and ensuring that if caught, they will be punished by law.

We are particularly excited by the committee’s stance on the individual prosecution of those fomenting trouble in the state. This approach is the most effective means to curb the excesses of those who sponsor crises in various communities for political reasons. It marks the end of the need to set up committees like yours to settle disputes anywhere in Ebonyi.

The lack of invocation of the Nigerian Constitution in other conflicts in the state emboldened the people of Ufiom to attempt to redraw the historically established maps of Effium using the instrumentality of crisis. They believed that if there was a crisis where the aboriginal Abakaliki people of Ezza were provoked and killed, they could ride on minority sentiment to ask for the reallocation of lands to them.

We wish to remind you that every land in Effium has an owner. The establishment of land ownership dates back to precolonial times, and many lands bought in Effium Urban are being threatened by this crisis. Some speculate that Ufiom people will be given these hard-earned properties of those who survived the Cross-River Militia’s onslaught on unsuspecting members of the community during the leadership crisis escalation in Effium Garage.

Thus, we seek clarification in this regard. While we anticipate peace, we urge you not to reward people unduly. We remind you of the constitutional provisions in Section 44 of the Nigerian Constitution, which states:

“(1) No moveable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily and no right over or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of Nigeria except in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by a law that, among other things

— (a) requires the prompt payment of compensation therefore; and (b) gives to any person claiming such compensation a right of access, for the determination of his interest in the property and the amount of compensation, to a court of law or tribunal or body having jurisdiction in that part of Nigeria.”

In this light, we urge the implementation of the government’s Whitepaper and adherence to constitutional provisions concerning multi-billion-naira investments in Effium Urban.

Yours sincerely,
Barr. Nwele Cyprian, PhD—President
Barr. Nweke Ndubuisi, PhD—General Secretary
Engr. Igwe Silas N, CEng—Publicity Secretary
Dr. Obasi Chukwuma, MBBS—Assistant Publicity Secretary

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