Fidelity bank card banner Camano banner

Of communal crisis and GOC’s peace mission, By Sagir Musa

By News Express on 22/05/2017

Views: 1,293

 •Maj-Gen Adamu Baba Abubakar during the peace meeting.
•Maj-Gen Adamu Baba Abubakar during the peace meeting.

In line with the Chief of Staff Nigerian Army, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai’s disposition to have a professionally responsive Army in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Adamu Baba Abubakar, had in the early hours  of Monday, May 15, 2017, led some security chiefs comprising the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Ebonyi State, Mr Titus Lamorde; Commander 44 Engineer- Brigade, Brig-Gen Mark Mamman; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, Ebonyi State, Mr Enyinnaya Adiagu; representative of Ebonyi State’s Director of State Security Services (SDS), Mr Joseph Oleseni; Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ebonyi Srate Command, Mrs Chinwe Kannu; Commanding Officer 24 Engineer-Support Regiment, Lt- Col Paul Kulawe; Commander, Mobile Police Squadron, Ebonyi State Command, Superintendent Yusuf Bala; Commander, 82 Division Provost Group, Col Ahmadu Abubakar and the representative of the Commander, Military Intelligence Brigade, Major Titus Oladejo on a visit to the conflicted villages of  Cross River and Ebonyi states, with the aim of resolving the crisis.

Professional temperament pushed me to look at the trip not so much from a public relations perspective, but more from a journalistic enterprise. Thus, the five hours journey on a bad road took us to Okputimo-Okwerike communities in Abakaliki Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi State; Ijitum and Idoro neighbourhoods in Obubra LGA of Cross River State. Contagious villages like Offia Orji, Osofong and Enyebichiri, and other neighbouring but scattered communities close to Ogurunde and Ogamanya located at the fringe of Cross River and Ebonyi states were also visited, to determine the extent of damage and their involvement in the perennial conflicts. 

Some of these communities seem actively involved in the skirmishes, while a few are passive - supporting one community against another. Although agrarian, dispersed or fragmented, some of the villages appear to be divided, tensed and obviously at war with each other. 

The only major common market was barricaded, the dilapidated primary and secondary schools are no go areas, and the only bad road linking the communities to the two states has been blocked by the ’merchants of war’. Instructively, socio-economic, educational and religious activities are virtually paralysed, and peoples’ suffering seems to be increasing. 

What intrigued one is not the reality of conflict and pervasive neglect, but the sheer poverty and underdevelopment in the communities. Although most of the localities look deserted, the remnants of women, children and men look downhearted and melancholic. Hope and an aura of relief came when the people in Okpuitimo-Okwerike community saw the convoy of security agencies. Majority came forward, welcomed and ushered the GOC and his team to a natural shade provided by a cluster of mangrove trees for a meeting. It was the first community engagement, dialogue or consultative meeting of the day. At first, the submissions by the village head, a few elders and youth leader appeared conflicting, evasive or outright falsehood. But, the GOC, COMPOL, the SDS and other security chiefs on the mission were determined to ensure total and everlasting peace in the village and its environs. So, General Abubakar, looking calm and unemotional, warned the chiefs and youths of the consequences of their actions.

Consequently, the Village Head, Chief Luke Obu and the Youth leader, Mr Augustine Nwoyo, passionately opened up and voiced their community’s anger against their neighbours – ‘their Ijitum brothers and sisters’: “The problem is about our land,… our farm lands laying at the border between Cross River and Ebonyi states, which have been severally encroached by the Ijitum, and there will never be peace if they do not vacate our land,” Luke stated. 
At this point, Abubakar interrupted and urged them to calm down, saying: “I want you all to know that by your actions and utterances, you are sowing the seed of animosity between your community and its neighbours, and the result will be nothing but vicious circle of violence, which will do no one any good. Having been together for many years, no village will relocate to anywhere. No community has the mandate to order for the relocation of any community. Whatever the grievances, we must today amicably discuss and resolve them for the common good.” 
I would like to make it clear to you that government is aware of the recurrent boundary skirmishes between and among your localities, and a lot is being done to address the problem. I will table this issue once again to appropriate authority, with a view to resolving the issue once and for all. Whatever we agree on here, I will pass it on to the other warring communities, Abubakar posited.

The day was moving fast. We were only able to reach out to three volatile communities of Okpuitimo-Okwerike, Ijitum and Idoro. In all the communities, the messages were straightforward: that of peaceful coexistence and the need for periodic intra and inter community engagement/dialogue between and among the warring communities. The major achievements of the visit included restoration of peace, reopening of the major road, the common market and the schools.

Above all, mechanism/processes for the establishment and activation of inter-community vigilante groups would be established by the government of Ebonyi State, to help de-escalate tension and address emerging security challenges across the communities and its environs.  

Col Sagir Musa is Deputy-Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu.


Source News Express

Posted 22/05/2017 3:55:09 PM





You may also like...
Jime welcomes appointment of Segun Oni as NEPZA...

Gov. Dickson swears-in new Bayelsa Council Chairmen

Lassa Fever: 3 dead, 200 under observation in...

Governor Masari presents 200bn budget to Katsina lawmakers...

Again, police open fire, shoot tear gas at...

Adeleke: Police Toxicology Report rules out poisoning

SURE-P boosts Okowa’s health programme

Delta contractors get three months marching order

FG dismisses global report on Nigeria’s poverty level...

Okowa celebrates Edwin Clark at 92

Troops rescue 21 Boko Haram hostages, gun down...

How Nigerians can become major players in the...


Latest News APC challenges Wadume over alleged N13m campaign fund for 2019 elections Attack on Ekweremadu: German detectives zero in on 5 suspects Soyinka warns against clampdown on protesters Gunmen kidnap 7 in Kaduna, including official of anti-graft agency Herdsmen: Enugu Govt. orders autopsy on murdered woman as Ohanaeze reacts Security operatives, vigilantes raid suspected cult leader’s home, recover arms, human skulls Attack on Ekweremadu, a warning to Ndigbo leadership — Charly Boy Why Germany should not extradite Ekweremadu’s attackers: HURIWA FG to build 4 million houses by 2023 — Minister Ogun to demolish houses harbouring kidnappers APC screens Lokpobiri, 5 others for Bayelsa guber primaries Right leadership key to development — Obi


Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (530,814 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (439,246 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (384,309 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (323,364 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (290,940 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (251,583 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (246,495 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (233,981 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (228,472 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (214,690 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (193,443 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (191,329 views)


CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (99) Business & Economy (4,407) Business Verdict (79) Columnists (1,097) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (215) Entertainment (649) Features (798) Global Business Monitor (424) ICT Monitor (59) International (3,861) Interview (199) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (166) Maggie's Blog (387) News (50,379) Opinion (1,336) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,339) Religion (1,089) Sports (2,138) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update







APO Group Partner




GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera