BY kingsley Omonobi
Aftermath of the unending communal strife that has raged between Ezza and Ezillo communities in Ebonyi state which has left scores of persons dead including 16 Police officers since May, 2008, the Inspector General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo yesterday ordered the detention of 32 stakeholders including traditional rulers and community leaders who had gathered at force headquarters for a peace meeting.
There was initial confusion over the IGâ€™s directive, following disclosure that some members of the Senate, House of Reps, Perm secs, and Ebonyi state commissioners were among the stakeholders that attended the meeting.
Vanguard gathered that the IGP later gave a directive that those that were government officials, the National Assembly members whose presence were aimed at facilitating peace, be released while leaders from both communities should remain detained and only be released on bail.
A worried Mr. Onovo had summoned all the stakeholders in the Ebonyi communal crisis to deliberate and find a way out of the crisis after several other attempts. But he changed his stance when report reached him that a Director in one of the government agencies in the state was killed in connection with the crisis while efforts were on to settle the matter.
Recalling efforts made to settle the quarrel, the IGP who said he has been embarrassed mostly, because those that should be his people are the ones giving the police more problems, regretted that a total of 16 police officers have been killed as a result of the Ezza/Ezillo communal crisis.
Tracing the outbreak of the crisis to May 10, 2008, he said, â€œThe issue at stake is one that is of concern to everybody. Police must do what they have to do as a last resort to resolve the crisis. A committee was set up consisting of clergymen, traditional rulers, and other leaders of thought and stakeholders, this did not yield any dividendâ€.
â€œAnother committee was formed involving traditional leaders, no way; the Police and Soldiers intervened, no way; 16 police officers have been killed due to the crisis, police stations have been burnt, police armoured vehicles have been destroyed due to the crisis, yet no wayâ€.
â€œTherefore, we are no longer interested in discussing any settlement. Police must do what they have to do as a last resort. I will remand you all, inconvenience you. That is the only way I think the problem can be resolved. In fact, I am ashamed that it is you my people that have caused the police problems. We are ready to use force to restore peace in Ebonyi state”, Onovo insisted.