–We’re All Losers-AIG(rtd)
–I Grew Up Spending Holiday With Eze J.N Nwenyi-HRH Ekwok Laments
BY NDUBUISI NWOGHA ANDY
The lingering boundary crisis rocking some communities of Ebonyi and her counterpart, Cross River states might have come to an end as stakeholders from the warring areas admitted traditional oath in acceptance to enthronement of peace during the 3-days peace sensitization programme initiated by Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution that lasted between Tuesday 1st until 5th February,2022.
Consequently, the border communities admitted traditional oath which is believed to bring calamity upon any clan that made further attempt in raising arm against each other or ferment any form of trouble after the peace meeting.
However, a delegate from Institute For Peace and Conflict Resolution led by Mrs Ladi Achanya on Thursday meet with stakeholders from both states at Ipolo Primary School, venue for the peace meeting between the people of Igbeagu Autonomous Community, Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State and Ukelle/Ntrigom of Yala LGA, Cross River states.
Speaking while performing the traditional oath at Ipolo Primary School, the venue of the event, an elder stateman, and the erstwhile traditional ruler of Igbeagu Autonomous Community, Sir John Nwenyi, described war as enemy of development and killer of dreams.
He encouraged the two sister communities to stick to the traditional oath knowing that going contrary to the oath would spell shameful death to the perpetrators and added that it’s only federal government that has the power to delinate the boundary.
“Today is a remarkable day in these two sister communities, recall that i taught in this school for standard 3&4 in the year 1959 and I am proud to be here today to talk peace and that we’ll cement today.
“Whatever we are saying here is that you are my brother and brother’s hand no dey go for eyes but for mouth and that’s why we have palm wine here.
“Ekwok’s father taught me in catechism how to say,”In the name of the father, son and the holy spirit” in Ukelle” Lekora lede, Le wa, Le ko spirit” Chief Nwenyi explained
“I don’t know how to mix words, all I believe is that if you are truthful in your life; you will live long, but if you begin to bend, you may live long but will not enjoy the life.
“So, today I am going to perform the traditional oath except if anybody here is older than me but since nobody has shown any indication to be older than me, I therefore, bring this palm wine and give the two traditional rulers of Igbeagu and Ukelle to show to the whole world that we don’t have problem again and will never have problem again.
The erstwhile traditional ruler, Eze Nwenyi performed the oath ritual before handing over the drink to the traditional rulers who drink and exchanged the remains with each other with clapping ovation from the representatives of the community elders and the youths of both sides.
“Today, February 3rd, 2022. We the people of Izzi and Ukelle community condemn any form of violence between us in its entirety. anybody who violates this vow today to be one, united, to progress and to leave all our problems to the leadership of this country that person condemned himself.
In his reaction, the traditional ruler/clan head of Ukelle/Ntrigom clan
of Yala LGA, His Royal Highness, Ubiet Stephen Ekwok Odom, said the people are one and have been living together and added that nothing would separate the two clans.
Ubiet Ekwok described the once bedevilled crisis as a disrupt of wind to water which has settled after the rain and lamented that he grew up with the former traditional ruler of Igbeagu Community who housed him during his days in school.
“Izzi and Ukelle are one and there’s nothing you can do to separate us. we have been living together in Ukelle here, but crisis like blowing wind on water; after the wind the water must settle and today, our water don settle.
“This is what our parents wanted from the beginning as they lived very friendly life to an extend that they inter married but this generation brought us very shameful act but let me assure you that this meeting has further reunited us since before now, we have started going to Nwakpu market in Izzi while Izzi people go to Mfuma market on our side and as I speak with you here, some Izzi people are in my farm working for me and that was how it was.
“The peace we are looking for has been established. so, all we are doing here is to solidify the peace effort.
On his part, the traditional ruler of Igbeagu Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Michael Ogbanna Ukwa bemoaned the level of loss incurred by the two clans including property and lives.
Eze Ukwa advised the youths to embrace the peace pact as nothing thrives on atmosphere of rancour and bitterness.
“From today, we are cursing those who dare forment trouble to be thrown into Enyim river. As we declare peace henceforth among Ukelle/Ntrigom and Izzi people.
Also, the former Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG Kelvin Opoke(rtd) described the two clans as losers in the fight and advised the youths to embrace the peace meeting by ensuring that every points raised during the event is put into practice.
Lending his voice, the national president Ebonyi/Cross River Youth Peace Movement, Barr Pascal Nwenyi described the war as an enemy that Satan used to rob the peace of the area but commended the people for coming together after many years of war.
Barr Nwenyi appealed to both federal government and Non Governmental organizations to come to the aid of the people who major mostly in farming by giving them support, as well as, rehabilitate hospitals and school to enable them swing back to life.
Others who barred their minds including, the representative of executive chairman, Izzi Local Government Area, Hon Paul Nwogha who was represented at the event by leader, Izzi legislative Council, Hon Kizito Nwenyi, Chairman Ukelle Traditional Rules Council, HRH Ubiet Okom Ignatius Olem, Ntrigom Community chairman, Nsoja
Patrick, National Vice President Ebonyi/CRS Youth Peace Movement, Mr Lucky Okpechi and Chief Emmanuel Idike, thanked the delegates from Institute For Peace and Conflict Resolution for the programme and pledged their total support to ensure that peace is entrenched in the border communities.
The event was witnessed by officials of men of Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC,State Security Service, traditional rulers of both warring border areas, and youth leadership including the Ebonyi/CRS Youth Peace Movement led by Barr Pascal Nwenyi.
Highlights of the event were the traditional oath taking, presentations of peace messages, and exchange of drink to formalize the peace ritual at Adadamma/Amagu Ikwo community and Edda/Okpuitumo and Edja Community of Cross River state.