August 12, 2017

Stop killing our people, Igbo in C’river tell feuding villages

Stop killing our people, Igbo  in C’river tell feuding villages

Destroyed shops in Uyanga

By Emma Ula

In 2015 and 2016, it was kidnap and robbery of the Igbo resident in Cross River State. Within that period, over fifty Igbo businessmen and professionals were kidnapped or robbed with some of them losing their lives.

It took a visit to the Obong of Calabar Edidem Ekpo Otu    by the Igbo to lament their fate and his condemnation of the the dastardly acts    on the Igbo to create some respite. The Obong had said that the Igbo were    partners in developing the state. But shortly after     another form of atrocity on them emerged. They became cannon fodders during the rampant communal conflicts in the state. It was common for two brother communities engaged in communal conflict to vend their anger on the Igbo by looting and setting their shops and businesses ablaze to cover up for the stealing.

Destroyed shops in Uyanga

This new form of attack which has left some of them dead and several businesses ruined.   The Igbo    resident in    state    under the leadership of    Chief Emmanuel    Ezenwenyi , Nna Ndi Igbo in Cross River and Dr Lawrence Chukwuemeka, President of Igbo in the state    visited Uyangha, in Akamkpa Local Government Area    where Igbo were attacked on the 21st  of June    during a communal conflict in the area    had  to express their displeasure.

The Igbo leaders demanded for succor for    those whose businesses have been ruined and family heads brutally killed in the conflicts which they had no hand in.

Dr Lawrence Chkuwemeka while speaking at the Palace of the Clan Head of Uyanga, Ophot Felix Akposi    expressed displeasure that  the Igbo in the state have become scapegoats by being brutally attacked and their shops    always the target of looting    and arson  during communal conflicts by    feuding communities    even when such conflicts have no relationship with them

“The Igbo are usually made the scapegoats when communities in the state are involved in any altercation even when such conflict is not related to us. Recently we read in the papers that two communities in Akamkpa,. Uyanga and Ojor were    involved in communal conflict and when hostilities ended we began to hear stories that Igbo were the ones attacked    and    over thirty shops were    looted and    destroyed while some of them lost their lives and    others had all they have worked for in their lives destroyed”

Dr Chukwuemeka stated that similar attacks happened during the conflict between the people of Apiapum and Ovonum,    the Ukeles in Yala Local Government Area and    during    a similar incident in Ugep , Yakkur    Local Government Area where    businesses owned by Igbo were attacked and destroyed even when they had nothing to do with such conflict.

“We are seeking   our daily bread    in places we sojourn. We are not     war mongers.   So, why should we be the subject of attack in conflicts we know nothing about?. Our businesses are always    looted and set ablaze, please, let this stop.

“In the North we have been given a quit notice, in Yoruba we are not liked and still here    our brothers in the south south with whom we share    common custom and tradition    also hate us, what have we    done to deserve this treatment?” he queried.

Chief Ezenwenyi,    who spoke in   similar vein narrated how some    Igbo indigenes were killed    during the crisis in Uyangha and their bodies not found, stating that the Igbo hardly leave their deceased    in foreign lands and called for the return of the bodies so they could be taken home for proper burial

He    called on    Ophot Akposi to    use his good office and take    the case of those whose businesses    and homes were destroyed    to the Federal and State Governments to offer them assistance by    rehabilitating    hem    because many of them have become destitutes,  without any source of livelihood after their shops were set on fire.

“Many of those affected    have become    beggars    and are    begging    from door to door for what    to eat and have worn    the same  dress for the past one month and sleep outside since their homes were also set on fire.”

Ophot Akposi who said the destruction was not done by his people stated that part of his building was destroyed by those who invaded the community.

‘We were taken unawares.   That is why you see the kind of destruction    inflicted on Uyangha and the attack on Igbo is quite unfortunate. But it was not done by my people but those who attacked us too”. He promised to make a case    for  those who suffered losses to    the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA to extend some assistance    to those whose businesses and homes were  razed down