By: Joy Omagha Idam
The Clash between the people of Amasiri, Ekumaubaghala and the Edda People of Ebonyi State has left two dead, several injured while some Amasiri men & women were abducted.
Despite Amasiri releasing the four people they took hostage to the Chairman, Afikpo North Local Government Area, Hon. Uchenna Ibiam, properties worth millions were damaged in the latest attack by Edda people over a piece of farmland (Oso) belonging to Amasiri people.
Our investigation revealed that it is the tradition of Amasiri people at the beginning of the farming season to share communal farm lands.
The Ndukwe people, one of the five village-groups that made up Amasiri, went for th annual tradition of farmland sharing and were attacked by the Edda people at (Oso).
The combined efforts/intervention of the Ezeogo Ubaghala III, Coordinator, the Traditional Essa Ruling Council/Nde-Ichies, prevented face-to-face confrontation at Oso and also averted worse casualties that would have been recorded.
Their efforts of the Noble men was said to have stopped Amasiri Youths who they calmed down and encouraged to embrace peace.
History has it that The land in question is Amasiri’s land with border to Ihie, Ndukwe and Ohaechara communities of Amasiri clan. Amasiri has never had boundaries with Edda people from Okigwe axis rather they share boundaries with Akeze people, hence its called Okigwe- Amasiri road.
Oso is Amasiri land and the forebears of the Edda people who resides in the land that are now claiming it to be their ancestral land, were hunters from Ekoli and Nguzu Edda who normally come for hunting in Amasiri land and Amasiri forefathers allowed them hunt there”
Furthermore we gathered that because it was a far distance for them (Edda) to be coming and going everyday and most times their catch got spoilt before they go back to their homes. They approached Amasiri forefathers to beg them for a space to make huts where they can be staying for some days and roast their catch before the retire back to their place Ekoli/Nguzu, a request Amasiri forefathers out of their magnanimity obliged and they were paying rent as tenants unfortunately this good deed is being paid back with evil.
Many court judgement are there in the archives that Amasiri won the case against Edda but unfortunately the government has not done the needful because of their interest in Edda and the bigwigs in Edda that are suppressing the matter. It may interest readers to note that the Senator representing Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone and the Minister of State Health are both from Edda. But yet to lend their voices to this matter.
Weekenders Magazine gathered that this was an unprovoked attack by Edda people for which Amasiri people tried to defend themselves but were overwhelmed by Edda people who visited untold mayhem, destruction on the homes of Amasiri people in the farm settlements of Okporojo, Akanto and Uhu Oko-Ugo whilst also killing one and maiming many. As at the last head-count a total of 8 Amasiri men and women who were abducted by Edda people are still missing.
The Edda occupants of Amasiri land at Oso barricaded the Okigwe-Afikpo road searching vehicles plying that route and singling out any/every Amasiri person for elimination. It was in the course of that operation that an innocent Amasiri woman returning from the farm from Ozara Ohaechara, Mrs Angela Okpani Omah of Okpani, Poperi Amasiri oblivious of the fracas at Ndukwe axis, was attacked by rampaging Edda people and severally and left for dead. She did not make it. She died at a hospital at Abakaliki on Thursday 9th February 2023.
Speaking with the hard working Chairman Afikpo North Local Government Area, Hon Uchenna Ibiam, via telephone interview he told Weekenders that “we have been able to calm the situation everything is under Control”.
According to Hon Ibiam, It was a case of “Attack and reprisal attacks from Edda versus Amasiri people. So far two deaths recorded the man was beheaded and an Amasiri woman returning from farm got multiple matchet cuts, I personally moved her to the Force Hospital at Afikpo and she was later transferred to another hospital at Abakaliki, sadly we lost her”.
“There are allegations and counter allegations from both the Amasiri and Edda People. But I can confirm that four Edda people were handed to me by Amasiri and I handed same to the Divisional Police Office at Afikpo. It’s also assumed that those abducted by Edda would have been released”. He explained that in such situations many may have ran out of fear and if not seen would be assumed abducted.
Hon Ibiam declared that the State Government is on top of the matter explaining that “The Edda people blocked Oso Road while Amasiri blocked Afikpo Road but we cleared it. Things have returned to normalcy as we speak”.
On the Military presence in Amasiri he explained that they were drafted into Amasiri Tuesday Night to maintain law and order. To avoid further chaos. Their Presence restored stability. So on the issue of the Military taking sides I did not see it from that angle at all. The military don’t take orders or instructions from the Edda people. They have their Chain of Command and when issues like this occur the Governor can ask for their assistance to come in and restore peace”.
“Personally I have been on ground at Amasiri no one I repeat no one was intimidated by the military. I personally took the Amasiri injured woman to Force Hospital at Afikpo there we moved her to Abakaliki, the state capital she is responding to treatment but she later died”.
Hon Ibiam called on Amasiri and Edda people to embrace peace and see each other as one. As we belong to the same axis and senatorial constituency” he concluded.
Efforts to get the Senator representing the Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone failed as he did not return my call nor reply three SMS to him drawing his attention and requesting he comment as at Press time proved abortive. We wanted him to lend his voice to the calls for peace as championed by the Chairman Afikpo North Local Government Area, Hon Uchenna Ibiam, and his constituents, such as the Coordinator Amasiri Development Center and the Ezeogo of Amasiri, Ubagala III.