The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) said it has uncovered the actual reason behind the recent massacre of innocent citizens in Effium, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The persistent attacks have led to the loss of hundreds of lives and the destruction of property worth millions of naira by suspected hired militia.
In a statement signed on Friday by the AESID President Amb Paschal Oluchukwu, said “the discovery of mineral deposits in the area is the actual cause of the lingering conflict in the once peaceful communities.”
The statement alleged that attempt by the government in partnership with a billionaire investor from Anambra State to mine the discovered minerals was responsible for the killings.
“Recall that we had always raised the alarm and condemned the ongoing carnage in Effium which first started on January 22nd this year.
“So far, an uncountable number of souls, particularly of Ezza descent, have been lost to the violent attacks which we have also consistently blamed on the Ebonyi state government led by Governor David Nweze Umahi for his inability to show leadership and live up to his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens as canvassed in the Nigerian constitution.
“However, we have now unravelled the actual reason the Ebonyi State government is grandstanding rather than bringing the sponsors of the killings to book.”
The group, however, said it is not against any businessman mining “God’s given mineral deposits in any land so long as it meets the requirements of the law and a government, in turn, giving support for such exploration to be carried out.
“AESID is miffed by the insidiously desperate attempts to favour one side against the other and perpetrate heinous violent crimes against those it feels could be an obstacle or opposition to its planned forceful and secret mining activities in Effium. This is insane and downrightly condemnable and we so do!
“The said Billionaire businessman, whose firm is said to be interested in the mining operations should know better how the law provides for corporate institutions interested in tapping mineral resources in a land or community should best approach it to avoid clandestine moves that could endanger lives and property as is currently the case in Effium.”
The statement tasked the state government to come out open and clear the air and assure the people of Effium of their safety.
“We, therefore, insist that Governor Umahi must act by ordering the arrest and prosecution of the local government chairman Clement Odah and indeed others allegedly mentioned in this crime.
“The attempts to clampdown, arrest and detain some Ezza stakeholders for voicing out their outrage over these dastardly attacks including the detention of a member, representing Ezza South Constituency in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Chris Usulor by the DSS is highly condemned by this body.”
The statement also described as a joke the declaration of AESID President Paschal Oluchukwu as a wanted person in Ebonyi State.