Ebonyi killings: Ebonyi govt. condemns PDP position; says you are biased.

By Mbam Ogodo, Abakaliki

Ebonyi state government has condemned in strong terms the position of the PDP Chieftain, Chief Ama Oji in the recent Ekoli Edda crisis in Afikpo South local government area of Ebonyi state.

It said that Ama Oji’s reasonings is tainted by highly divisive and self seeking aggrandizement of a man that is completely made-up in his bias and sentiments against peace and reconciliation in his own clan.

This was contained in a statement signed by the State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barrister Uchenna Orji, and issued to Journalists on Sunday.

The statement maintained that the publication by Mr Ama Oji is a substanceless distraction “by a captious and ill-willed complainer who is saddened by the truce achieved by the State Government over the rift that led to the unfortunate attack at Ekoli Edda that caused lives and properties.”

The statement further added that it was erroneous for Mr Ama Oji to expect Ebonyi State Government and other institutions of Federal Government to act upon a report by a Panel not backed by any law of the land and for which he was accused of being one of the key actors in the 2020 crisis in Edda.

“In his narrative of a report of a Panel of Inquiry set up in 2020 by a Platform called Edda Identity and his reservations against the State Government as well as some Federal Institutions, Chief Julius Ama Oji aggrieved erroneously by expecting Ebonyi State Government and other institutions of Federal Government to act upon a report by a Panel not backed by any law of the land and for which he was accused of being one of the key actors in the 2020 crisis in Edda,” the statement said

Part of the statement reads: “For the record, Ebonyi State Government has not rested in her oars in ensuring that the peace loving people of Ekoli Edda that recently suffered a breach of peace are returned to their old past of peace and harmony. The State Government’s directive on manhunt on the perpetrators of the dastardly act at Ekoli Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area recently is being satisfactorily discharged by the Police as a number of culprits have been arrested and they must face the long arms of the law together with those at large.

“In order to ensure lasting peace and harmonious co-existence in the afflicted community, the State Governor, acting pursuant to Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Law(Cap 29) Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria 2009 constituted a Commission of Inquiry into the causes of the killings at Ekoli Edda on the 26th and 31st day of December,2022, with a mandate to wit:

  • to look into the immediate and remote causes of the killing of persons at Ekoli Edda,Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on the 26th and 31st December,2022
  • to resolve the conflict among brothers and sisters of Ekoli Edda and institute permanent spirit of forgiveness and peace among them
  • to recommend necessary measures to take in restoring normalcy in the affected communities.

    -to recommend both short and long term measures for curbing such dastardly act at Ekoli Edda and within the State before, during and after 2023 General Elections.

“It is to be noted that this Administrative Commission of Inquiry has prominent sons of proven integrity of Afikpo South Local Government Area as Chairman and members and they are bound by time to submit their report.

“Let it be mentioned further that Chief Julius Ama Oji in the said publication alluded to the fact that he knows those masterminding killings in Edda clan. We encourage him to follow the part of honour by giving the Police useful information on the identities of those within his knowledge, that are responsible for the killings or he will be deemed to be concealing crimes committed under his knowledge. Government on her part is mindful of the universal standard of proof for criminal prosecution and must do everything possible not to link innocent people to offence they never committed, no matter the pressure. No person is shielded and the principle of prima-facie cannot be sacrificed on the altar of sentiment.

“Again let it be mentioned that Chief Julius Ama Oji was misguided in holding that the offence of the hard working Police was that they charged murder suspects arrested by them to a Magistrate Court. He should know that Holding Charge has not been outlawed in our legal system and that the State Attorney- General has not been found wanting in his judicious application of his powers of nolle prosecui. We urge Chief Julius Ama Oji not to dabble in the issues of law without proper legal advice as law is not an act of buying and selling.

“The wave of progress in the peace initiative at Ekoli Edda and indeed the entire Edda clan shows that Chief Julius Amah is on his own and has a dire need to embrace peace and reconciliation that is gradually and permanently returning to the afflicted communities. Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called children of God.”

The statement further enjoined members of the public to disregard the insinuations and the alleged falsehood of Mr Ama Oji conveyed in his “sponsored publication as a condemnable clog in the wheel of the peace of the good people of Edda clan.”