Communal clash: Houses burnt, 11 injured, others displaced in Ebonyi
No fewer than 50 houses have been reportedly destroyed by suspected hoodlums in fresh communal clash in Ebonyi State.
The incident, which took place at Ndiefi-Ishieke village in the Ebonyi Local Government Area, threw many innocent members of the community into deep grief and panic.
It was gathered that the hoodlums, numbering over 50, went into 43 compounds situated within a communal land, shot some villagers and destroyed their buildings.
It was learnt that 11 persons were injured and 300 households displaced in the affected community.
Confirming the incident, an indigene of Ndiefi-Ishieke village, Dr. Nwoba Benjamin, who decried the attack unleashed on the villagers by the hired thugs, alleged that the cause of the incident was because the family of Okuku-Ede of Igbojima kindred was laying claim to a communal land.
The claim, according to sources, caused agitation among the villagers.
They insisted that the communal land didn’t belong to a particular family but to every indigene of the affected village.
Benjamin alleged that some key stakeholders of Igbojima kindred were behind the attack on the innocent villagers, who insisted the communal land was not meant for a particular family as many people from the village had over the years gotten a fair share of the communal land.
He further alleged that the thugs were led by Ebonyi LGA Chairman, Chinedu Uburu, as none of the hoodlums have been arrested so far.
According to him, “The thugs from nowhere, on Monday, unleashed mayhem on the villagers that opposed the ownership of the land to a particular family.
“The thugs were hired and were shooting sporadically. They were led by some members of Igbogima kindred. About 100 buildings were destroyed. There’s a communal land in the village, which the community usually share to indigenes of the village, when you grow and get married.
“Okuku-Ede family claimed that it was their land. One of them died and was buried in the Community land even as the community refused such development. At about 3a.m of the fateful day, the thugs started destroying people’s properties. I was reliably informed that SWAT saw them and didn’t do anything.”
In his reaction, the Ebonyi Council Chairman, Mr. Uburu, denied any involvement in such an act, saying such allegations were directed at tarnishing his image.
“Nobody has officially reported to me that there was any destruction in the affected community. Am hearing it for the first time. The day of the burial, the police were on ground. If anybody is laying accusing fingers on me, it’s just a cheap blackmail. Surely, I will visit the place and alert some security agencies to swing into action.”
Also lamenting, Ndiefi-Ishieke Village Head, Eze Sunday, called on the state government not to take side with any clan in the affected village but to play a fatherly role by providing unity, peace and oneness among the villagers.
“We want the state government to know what is happening. They should not victimise a particular clan but carry everybody along. They should allow those displaced to come back to their compounds.
“The compound of the family that said the communal land belonged to them is from Igbojima. The hoodlums should be brought to book. Our in-coming Governor should assist us in maintaining peace in the village. He should not look at the kindred dichotomy,” he said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said the command was yet to receive an official report on the matter.