Solomon Ugo, Calabar
Warring communities in Cross River and Ebonyi states held a second Peace Summit today in Calabar on the heels of incessant communal attacks that have claimed lives, displaced residents and destruction of property worth millions of naira over portions of land in the boundary communities.
The summit facilitated by the Catholic Diocese of Ogoja and Abakaliki drew communities from Adadama in Abi, Osokom in Obubra,Ukelle in Yala Local Government Areas of Cross River and Igbeagu in Izzi,Abakaliki and Ikwo Local Government Areas of Ebonyi states as they converged on Calabar to consolidate on the resolutions achieved during the first peace initiative held in Abakaliki recently.
Crusader of the Peace Summit, Rev Fr John Ezeh, highlighted key points of the peace efforts featuring the breaking of kolanut as a symbol of acceptance of peace that will usher in a return to mutual coexistence which has eluded these communities since two decades of hostilities amongst themselves.
Cross River state Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, represented by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Security, Dr Alfred Mboto, urged youths in the warring communities to be law abiding and embrace peace to foster nation building.
“You cannot build a nation when you are not law abiding and being your brother’s keeper. Can you build a nation when you are insensitive to your neigbour whom you are supposed to see after his well-being?”
According to the permanent secretary, the governor expects the summit to bring lasting peace with a joint committee to discuss freely with youths from other areas while averring that those who flout the peace initiative should be treated as individuals not as a community.
“We expect that at the end of this summit, we should not have problems in these areas again. We would have a joint committee that would move freely to discuss things together and make sure that an individual crime is not generalized to become a community crime”
On his part, the Special Adviser to the Governor in Northern Senatorial District, Mr Leo Iyambe stressed that disarmament and security are a collective business hinting of Cross River government’s resolve in taking concerted efforts to fix security posts, flash points in Obubra,Abi and Yala Local Government.
“Security is not a one man thing, disarmament is another thing we need to discuss as youths to have relative peace. we are fixing security posts to ensure proactive movement to wade off any possible breach of peace”
Decrying the level of destruction, a youth leader from Obubra, King Omenge, enjoined youths from the warring communities who are at the receiving end as key actors of the incessant crisis to ensure peace is attained at all cost so as to return to the good old days as neighbours.
“Peace has eluded us in our area and we have concluded that this war has really destroyed and killed a lot of people. We cannot continue to kill ourselves, let us do everything possible to see how we can return to the good old days we used to live in peace”
Heaving a sigh of relief with news of disarmament from youths in Ebonyi and Cross River, Omenge said; “so far after our meeting in Abakaliki on the 5th of September, we went home with resolutions to disarm our youths in the bush and that has been achieved”
The summit which did not touch on areas like; remote causes of the crisis, sponsors and blame game attracted top security Chiefs in Cross River, clergy,political leaders in the three local governments in Ebonyi as well as community leaders who resolved to work in harmony to ensure that peace is achieved at all cost.
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