The crisis going on in Effium, between the Effium and Ezza people in Ebonyi State which has led to killings of over 1000 people and destruction of properties has continued despite the visit of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to the area, Association of Effium Indigenes International (ASSEI) has cried out.
At a press conference over the weekend in Enugu by the President of ASSEI, Emmanuel Acha said the recent crisis in Effium between Ezza and Effium people since January 2021 has continues unabated
He said “we have all watched with horror, the ugly developments in Effium since January 2021 despite the frantic efforts of governments at various levels, the killings continue unabated.
“We have suffered constant threats and extra judicial killings in Effium by the Ezza people at every slightest provocation which includes the killing of a pregnant Effium woman as the killers opened her womb and killed the baby in the womb, the genocide/killing of about 200 Effium indigenes in 2002 and the current conflict in Effium which has claimed over 1000 lives of Effium indigenes and led to destruction of properties worth billions of Naira,” he lamented
He said “We want to alert the public and the global community about a trend reminiscent of the terrible massacre of Ezilo prople by Ezza people a decade ago. We want to be crystal clear, the on-going crisis in Effium is a conflict between two groups which are indigenes of Effium and Ezza settlers in Effium community. It is between Ezza people who migrated to Effium to settle but are now bent on decimating Effium people and taking over their community. We are seeing a trend a repeat of the reprisal massacre of Ezillo people about a decade ago”
He explains that the current crisis started as a result of leadership tussle between members of NURTW which led to attack on the secretary of the Union Who is an indigenes of Effium community and the situation escalated and result to crisis in the community.
The group who called on governments at all levels as well as the global community to take urgent action to avoid a genocide among the native of Effium community said the age long crisis between Effium and Ezza people dated back to the British Colonial era when Ezza people migrated and settled in Effium but alleging that the Ezza settlers have continued to oppress and attack Effium indigenes in all ramifications.
“In their quest to achieve their conquest agenda, the Ezza settlers in Effium have continued to use their political influence, wealth and connections to oppress the people of Effium. It is crucial to note that any attempt from indigenous people to challenge the excesses and human rights violations by the Ezza people were met with extreme measures, such as further systemic marginalization/oppression and actions that constitute existential threats against Effium indigenous people.
Acha alleged the illegal change of ancient landmarks and names of locations and villages of Effium community into Ezza names as well as falsification of aboriginal data and names to suit Ezza’s agenda in Effium.
“in a democracy like Nigeria, government has the responsibility to protect the minority and ensure that the right of the indigenous people are respected”
He thanked the Governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi for the ongoing efforts to restore peace as well as the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo’s visit to the community.