By Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
Ebonyi State Government has ordered the warring communities of Ohankwu in Ikwo and Amana in Ezza South Local Governments, to hands off their presence and activities at the disputed mining site until further notice.
The government said the disputed lands and the mining sites become the state government property until the Peace Committee determines the true ownership of the land in dispute.
Recall that the Governor of Ebonyi State in his wisdom set-up peace and reconciliation committee consisting Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by Rev Fr. Abraham Nwali, leaders of the two affected communities: Ohankwu in Ikwo Local Government Area and Amana in Ezza South Local Government, the two youth leaders from both sides and the two local government chairmen; Ikwo and Ezza South respectively.
Speaking, the Committee Chairman, Rev. Fr. Abraham Chukwuma Nwali, the Senior Special Assistant to Ebonyi state Governor on Religious and Welfare Matters said: “I saw something spectacular during the visit unlike what we saw in the map which shows three mining sites. I saw two mining sites divided by the stream; one mining site before the stream on the side of Ohankwu and another mining site about 200 metres across the stream on the side of Amana which both parties claim to belong to them, I also observed that one of the mining sites by the side of Ohankwu was not in dispute”.
“We also observed that there were houses burnt at Amana a little distance beyond the mining site across the stream, that gave rise to another question, which is outside the mining site, is there any other thing struggled for? In answer, we were told that since 1974 even before mining took place, there had been contention over who owns the disputed area, therefore the primary source of dispute is land, and then the secondary source of dispute is the mining site”.
It is exciting to note that the peace and reconciliatory committee receives memoranda from both sides which indicates willingness to accept peace.
However, the committee interacted with the people of Amana during the inspection of the burnt houses and they informed us that they do not know the number of people that were killed but that there were casualties.
The committee also interacted with a mammoth crowd from Ohankwu at their playing ground who also said that 3 of their men were missing whereas some were injured.
Meanwhile the peace committee agreed to meet again by next week to interact with the two warring groups and their stakeholders even as it was mentioned that after a case study, geological and architectural study would come out with reliable result as they claimed that there’s an early beacon that exists before1974.
The committee advised both parties to sheath their swords as truth must be unravelled, assuring them that CAN will always be objective, transparent and credible in ensuring that peace is establish to forestall future reoccurrence.