Ezza-ezillo/ezillo: The Limit Of Unrest In Ebonyi State
Reading through the pages of newspapers this few past weeks, one would marvel at what kind of a people the quantity called Ezza people are. No reporter based in Ebonyi state who is worth his salt that has not done stories on the communal clash between the Ezza/Ezillo clash, which is now taking a frightening dimension.
A more thoughtful look at the cause of the crises would elicit more questions like the one asked before as to the kind of people these Ezza people actually are. And if one is very conversant with happenings in Ebonyi state, one would realize that it is not the first time the Ezza people are engaging any of their close neighbours in a bloody war that has caused the loss of several lives.
Besides all these, what should really engage the minds of all who love Ebonyi state and its people is what suggestion to be given to ensure that there is lasting peace in the state especially as all the clashes have always been as a result of disputes in land.
This is where every one would accept that the governor of Ebonyi state, Chief Martin Elechi has a task at hand. Not just the task of stopping the current crises between Ezillo and Ezza, but making sure that whatever the problem is that caused the clash in the area would not rear its ugly head in any other area, especially in areas where the war mongering Ezza people are known to have a boundary with any of their neighbours.
Secondly, the governor must visit again if he has done so before the states boundary commission, with the hope of bringing it to review the boundaries of all the communities in the state where there are known to be crises as a result of the thirst for other peoples land by another community. This would help the state stay out of unrest for a long time, and when there is trouble for any reason, it would be known that the community instigating the crises outrightly plans to defy the order of the state government, and appropriate sanction be meted out on them.
The governor if he takes a look at his state would accept that no state in the country has had more frequent clashes among its communities than Ebonyi. Worthy of note still is the fact that no clash in the state ever goes without the involvement of this cantankerous bunch called Ezza people. The sooner the governor finds a way of dealing with land grabbers in the state, the more peaceful the state would remain in a long while.
The panel of inquiry set up by the governor should besides finding the root cause of the clash in Ezillo also aim at seeing to it that other crisis in the state before now where the partakers habour grouses are called together and their respective grouses settled to ensure that such would not occur again.
Back to the Ezza/Ezillo clash, a daily newspaper quoted one John Nweke from Ezza-Ezillo as admitting that the land in question was that of Ezillo people. He however said that the Ezza people had spilled their blood on the said land fighting off dissidents who had come to grab lands from Ezillo people in the olden days.
When did helping someone to repossess his property make one a part owner of that property. Nweke was speaking under the impression that Ezza people helped Ezillo to fight Ngbo, Nkalagu and Okpoto several times to ensure that the land which belonged to the Ezillo people was not forcefully taken. One may assume that after the help, Ezillo people decided to give the Ezza people some parcel of land to stay in, for their help during the war, and before Ezillo could really know it, Ezza people from Onueke and other farmlands where they are scattered found in Ezillo a more convenient place to stay and latter seek to displace the land owners.
In what could be described as purposeful leadership, the Ebonyi State Governor after taking a cursory look at the situation ordered the Ezza people to relocate to Eguachara, but the trouble in the people won't let them, they are more thirsty for war than settling down in a place awarded them by the governor.
Before now, the troublesome nature of the people has pitched them with several communities in the state, and even with neighbouring states. Some time one is tempted to ask where exactly the Ezza people were supposed to reside as they are scattered everywhere in Ebonyi state causing trouble and unrest.
Those who are accusing the state governor of playing politics with the matter are themselves the trouble makers. The Abuja politicians who come from both areas should as well be investigated to ascertain their level of involvement in the fracas. If peace would really reign, the big men in Abuja who are not ready to do the actual fighting but render support from the sideline should be tamed as they are the real source of the problem rocking the state, as they reap gains trying to portray an atmosphere of insecurity to discredit the sitting governor, while lives are continually lost.
Eleke is an Ebonyi State journalist based in Anambra.