Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state on Thursday ordered the arrest of his Deputy Chief of Staff, Fidelis Okpata and other political office holders and stakeholders from the warring Ekpomaka and Inyimagu communities pending the time of the amicable resolution of the violent crisis which erupted in the area on Tuesday.
Governor Umahi gave the directive at an enlarged security meeting with security chiefs and stakeholders from both Ikwo and Abakaliki local government areas of the state at the Executive Council Chambers Abakaliki
The order was immediately carried out by the Commissioner of Police in the State, Titus Larmode, who promptly arrested some of those present including the Governor’s Deputy Chief of staff, Prof Fidelis Okpata.
The Governor’s directive followed the persistent hostilities among the people of the communities in which lives and property worth millions of naira were reportedly lost.
Governor Umahi expressed dismay that despite the decision of the state government to set up a committee to look into the crisis, the two communities have refused to give peace a chance to enable the state government look into the cause of fresh hostilities in the areas.
“I am sad that there is still crisis in these communities despite the fact that we set up a committee in this state to look into the matter. We pleaded with the communities to ceasefire and await the outcome of the committee report but it does appear that they do not want to give peace a chance”.
“I therefore order the Commissioner of Police to arrest all the stakeholders and political office holders from the communities. Without looking back, all of you in this Executive council chamber are under arrest. I want the Commissioner of Police to detain you people until peace returns to the communities”
He further warned that his administration will do everything possible to ensure safety of the people of the state and deal with anybody found fomenting troubles in the communities no matter how highly placed.
It will be recalled that fresh hostilities broke out in Ekpomaka-Inyimagu and Izzi communities on the 25th of February and since then, lives and property have been reportedly lost which prompted the state government to set up a committee chaired by the first Vice
President of the Ebonyi State Council of Traditional Rulers, Ezeogo Romanus Iyioku with Chief Felix Mgbada as secretary.