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Umahi orders arrest of council officials, appointees over communal crisis

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State on Monday ordered the suspension of Mr Declan Ovunna, Coordinator of Alike Development Centre in Ikwo Local Government Area over renewed violence in the area.

Umahi also suspended other political appointees from the community and the centre and asked the police to arrest them.

“It was my intention to dissolve the development centre through the state House of Assembly so that people would see that this government is not weak”, NAN quoted him as saying.

“The fact that the government is Godly does not mean that it is weak. The management committee members from the centre, special assistants, technical assistants, vigilante heads, youth leaders, among others, are suspended and should be arrested,” Umahi said.

The governor further directed that the salaries of the affected officers be aggregated and the funds used to reconstruct the destroyed school at Enyigba.

“Their suspension would subsist till the school is fully reconstructed and I will go and inspect it myself.

“The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and my Principal Secretary should present the aggregated funds to the state executive council which would set up a committee for the reconstruction.

“The heads of security agencies in the state should contribute personnel to participate in the direct labour process for the reconstruction as the affected appointees must vacate their offices immediately.

“The state commissioner of police should ensure their immediate arrest while the attorney general and commissioner for justice should secure their detention order for arson.

“The SSG should immediately issue a security query to Mr John Nnabo, Chairman of Ikwo LGA for being absent at this occasion”.

He called on stakeholders of both communities to urge their people to maintain peace because human life was sacred and cannot be equated with any psychical possession, including land.

“I earnestly thank the people of Inyimegu and Ekpomaka communities of Ikwo LGA for maintaining peace after the crisis which engulfed them and this should be emulated by all,” he said.

The people of Noyo-Echilaike in Ikwo Local Government Area situated in the centre and Enyigba in Abakaliki Local Government Area were locked in a bloody land dispute which led to the destruction of properties and the death of several persons.

The governor convened a stakeholders’ meeting involving heads of security agencies in the state on April 27 where several resolutions were reached aimed at ensuring ceasefire.

Youths from Noyo Echialike community, however, reneged on the agreement and destroyed a school and several house in Enyigba on Saturday which made the governor to suspend the coordinator and other political appointees.

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