Berates NBC Over Inability to Resolve boundary Disputes
By Ewa Innocent, The Sight News
Abakaliki: Ebonyi state governor, Engr.David Umahi has suspended the Auditor-General of the state, Mr Innocent Nweda and the state Coordinator FADAMA 3 project,Dr Cletus Nwakpu over the renewed communal clashes between the people of Igbeagu community in Izzi local government area of Ebonyi state and Ukelle community in Cross River state.
The governor, also suspended other elected and appointed office holders from Igbeagu Community in the Izzi Local Government Area of the state over the crisis.
Umahi, had on April 9, 2019, suspended the chairmen of Ikwo and Abakaliki Local Government Councils including other 51 elected and appointed office holders from Enyibichiri,Noyo,Echialike in Ikwo and Enyigba, in Abakaliki local government areas over a communal clash.
Briefing newsmen at EXCO Chambers government house, Abakaliki, the Commissioner for Border, Peace and Internal Security, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, announced the suspension after the meeting of Igbeagu stakeholders with the governor,over the boundary dispute between the people of Igbeagu Community and Ukele community in Cross River.
Ugbala, noted that the suspension, which took immediate effect, would elapse when peace returned to the communities.
“The affected persons include the Auditor-General of the state, Mr Innocent Nweda, Mr Cletus Nwakpu, Project Coordinator of the FADAMA 3 programme and His Royal Highness, Ogbonnaya Ukwa, among other political office holders.
According to Ugbala, “The issue of whether the governor has the constitutional right to suspend the elected officers does not arise because they are constitutionally mandated to protect the lives and property of their people.
“However, when an elected officer fails to perform this function, he has violated the constitution and should either resign, be suspended or charged to court.
“The courts would interpret such issues further and we are expecting such situations with this decision taken,” Ugbala said.
The commissioner berated the National Boundary Commission (NBC) for its inability to permanently resolve the boundary disputes, including others in several parts of the state.
“We sometimes doubt the sincerity of the Federal Government in settling such crisis and view the NBC as a toothless bulldog.It has made several visits to the disputed areas even before the inception of the present administration but no decision has been made.
“It is not our duty to demarcate the boundaries and the state government has attended all meetings convened by the NBC, being always disposed to peace.
“We urge the commission to live up to their responsibilities because no land is worth the lives of the citizens. The commission only makes ‘urban carol’ visits to the areas whenever there are clashes and we urge the media to mandate it to perform its duties”, he stressed.
The commissioner noted that Umahi would visit the affected areas to assess the extent of damage and find a permanent solution to the crisis.
“Stakeholders from the areas are enjoined to enlighten their people on ways of ensuring peace as government will also look into issues concerning internally displaced persons,” he said.