By Our Reporter
The Association of Effium Indigenes International has raised concern over an alleged genocide against Effium people by the Ezza settlers in the community.
The President of the group, Mr Emmanuel Acha disclosed this on Saturday while addressing a World Press Conference in Enugu.
Acha said that no fewer than 1000 Effium indigenes in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.had been killed and property worth billions of naira destroyed in the process..
He called on the state and Federal Government as well as the international community to come to the rescue of the indigenous people of Effium.
The president said that the call became necessary following the April 12 massacre of Effium indigenes by the Ezza settlers in the community which he said had turned their people to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in their state.
Recall that the state government on Friday announced its intention to relocate the IDPs whom it said had become tenants of circumstances taking refuge in open spaces in Abakaliki and its environs.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Kenneth Ugbala had while briefing newsmen at the end of the State Executive Council Meeting, said that the affected persons would be temporarily relocated to a tent.
Ugbala said that the facility which would be situated in safer locations of the community would receive regular food and medical supplies and security.
However, Acha raised a concern that in spite of the intervention of the state and Federal Government in the crisis, leading to the visit of Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to the area, the conflict had not abated.
He described the conflict as longstanding which had led to deep-seated distrust among the two unequal groups.
The president appealed to the state government to go beyond the move to relocate the IDPs to a temporary location to finding a lasting solution to the incessant killing.
He said that the Ezza people who migrated from Onueke to settle in Effium were bent on decimating members of their host communities and taking over their ancestral home.
“The ongoing crisis in Effium is a conflict between two unequal groups— Effium indigenes and Ezza settlers in Effium Community. The Ezza people migrated to Effium from Onueke in Ezza North and South Local Government Areas of the state.
“Under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), government has the responsibility to protect the minority and to ensure that the rights of the indigenous peoples and host communities are respected.
Acha said that Effium people were desperately yearning for peace to permanently return to the community.
He said that beyond the immediate causes of the recent crisis was a conquest agenda of the Ezza people living in the community.
“How the British Colonial Masters persuaded Effium people to accept the Ezza migrants into Effium land is well documented.
“Unfortunately, the Ezza people began to change ancient landmarks and names of locations and villages of Effium community into Ezza names as well as falsification of aboriginal data and names.
“They have consistently tried to create a parallel autonomous community in Effium,” he said.
“We call on governments at all levels and the global community to intervene in our plight in order to avoid a genocide against the native people of Effium,” Acha said.