Godwin AJOM, Calabar
The Osobong communities in Obubra local government area of Cross River State, and the Izzi/kwo communities in Ebonyi State have held a peace summit and reunion meeting.
The communities at the summit held at ST. Anthony’s Primary School, Ogurude, in Obubra, declared a cease fire and permanent peace over the 25 years of war and killings in those communities over some parcels of land.
The peace summit and reunion meeting followed series of consultations and closed door meetings between stakeholders, youths, women, royal fathers and government functionaries in the former rival communities, that have now been declared peaceful and reunited by chief’s, clergy and elders from the both communities across the two states of Ebonyi and Cross River.
Speaking during the event, the Obubra council chairman, Dr. Bassey Tom, explained the development to members of the press.
He said, “the whole processes here can be summarized as a peace accord between the Osobong communities in Obubra and the Izzi communities of Ebonyi state. We have come here, we have come here to seal a Peace agreement which has for a long time been in existence, but today is the grand finale.
“We have come together to support the peaceful coexistence of the two communities from Cross River and Ebonyi states. The crisis have existed for a long time; for about 20 to 25 years and now have come peace.
“Scores of people have died, and properties lost, we lost young and energetic people, some still have bullet wounds on their bodies: I am by nature a peaceful man and I have tried to ensure peace between Osobong and Izzi communities in Cross River and Ebonyi states.”
He continued that, “the Mobile police post in Ogurude that was awarded by the government is today, an abandoned project, that did not work, I have written many letters reminding the government, if that project should work, it will help to mitigate the this process of peace.”
Also, the chairman of Abakaliki local government in Izzi, Hon. Godwin Nwangele said, “from today henceforth, peace have returned between Abakaliki and Obubra local government areas of Cross Riverand Ebonyi states. From today, all roads leading from Obubra to Abakaliki have been declared open. All business owners from Obubra residing in Abakaliki should go on with their businesses.
“No fear and intimidation any more. I am excited, because really, there is peace and my brothers in Osobong have welcome the peace too. As am going back, am going to tell my people that there is peace.”
The chancellors representing the rival wards from Obubra and Abakaliki expressed confidence, saying that peace have finally returned.
The chancellor for Osobong ward 2 and the deputy leader Obubra legislature, who gave his name simply as Hon. Anthony said, ” since 13th January, 2013, the last war broke out again, Osobong and Izzi Communities have not known peace, a Young man from Osobong ward shot and beheaded and it was suspected that is the Izzi people that did the act, so in the course of hat argument, the war broke out, since 2013 till date. What we are doing today is returning peace to the land.”
A Reverend father, who introduced himself simply as Ifedibachi advised that, “the people should be left to detect the terms for the peace agreement and peaceful movement. There are the ones fighting in the one in the bush, let us rather listen to them and grant them peace in their own way. It is in the agreement that a peace committee should be formed, but let us not attribute the peace success to any particular individual, but is God who have willed it so let us give all glory to God.”
Some of the chiefs who spoke with newsmen appealed that the process should include family by family meetings where people would meet at their family levels and advise themselves on how to abide by the terms of the peaceful agreement. They declared that peace has permanently returned, in the area.
They added that, “communities have lacked behind in different aspects of development and social amenities due to the crisis. They lack road, water, markets, electricity, health care and security.”
The people were however happy about the return of peace in the area, even as a brief meeting was held, where lunch was served and eaten together.