By Charles Onyekwere
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi on Monday ordered the re-arrest of one of his aides, Emmanuel Igwe over the communal crisis in Effium Community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
Mr. Igwe, who is the governor’s special assistant on parks development was arrested on Sunday, alongside 20 other appointees and political office holders from the area following the crisis at the weekend which has claimed many lives.
They have been in detention since then, but Mr. Igwe, who is not from the area was later released from police custody.
He later showed up at the Community Primary School, Effium, the venue of an emergency security meeting convened by the governor over the issue.
As the governor was taking presentations from stakeholders and some residents of the community on the cause of the crisis, he spotted Mr. Igwe and asked him to step forward.
He asked him why he was not in detention like others, prompting the aide to respond that he was released by the police because he was arrested wrongly. But, the governor disagreed, arguing that the park where the crisis started was under his watch.
After asking him some questions on the leadership tussle and why he was not able to bring the situation under control, the governor asked that he should be re-arrested.
The Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba immediately re-arrested Mr. Igwe, who was thereafter, taken away in a police vehicle.
In his speech, the governor urged the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cletus Ofoke to get a court order to detain the appointees and political office holders arrested over the violent clash.
He said they can only be released by an order from him, adding that they will remain in detention until the end of investigation into the cause of the fracas.
Gov. Umahi said he has asked the security agencies to screen the mobile phones of the arrested appointees and political office holders to ascertain if they were culpable in the crisis.
He said: “I have asked telecommunications companies to give me transcripts of their phone calls; we will screen them and if they are found guilty they will be prosecuted.
This is murder and arson and anyone found complicit will be prosecuted and jailed.”
The governor also said he will write the state House of Assembly to suspend the member representing Ọhaukwu North State Constituency, Chinedu Aw over his alleged role in the crisis.
He announced the suspension of all developmental projects his administration was undertaking in the community till further notice and also announced the suspension of all political appointees from the community till further notice.
Gov. Umahi ordered the setting up of a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the remote and immediate causes of the clashes and make recommendations on the way forward.
Meanwhile, the community was a ghost of its former self on Monday as villagers who deserted the area since the clashes began are yet to return.
Many were said to have trekked for many kilometers to neighbouring Ezzamgbo where some of them slept under the fly-over bridge being constructed by the state government on the Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway. Others took refuge in churches in neighbouring communities.
Many, especially the aged were said to have died of exhaustion and shock while fleeing from the violence.
A resident, Nwite Ifeanyichukwu Shedrack said he picked a little child who was abandoned in the bush and took her to a neighboring community while he was fleeing from the attackers.
At the venue of the meeting, a pregnant woman went into labour and Gov. Umahi quickly provided funds and logistics for her to be ferried to the hospital.
The governor called on those who have fled to return home as security has been beefed up in the area.
He ordered security agencies to deal decisively with anyone found disturbing the peace of the area.