By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki – The Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on Monday received indigenes of the state displaced from Ekajiok in Ogoja Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River during an inter-communal crisis.
Mr Chibueze Iteshi, SEMA’s Head of Department, Relief and Rehabilitation, said the agency was still compiling the details of the displaced persons in order to ascertain how to assist them.
Iteshi said that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) directed the agency to take immediate steps to receive the refugees, who returned to the state on Monday.
He said: “We got a report that our people living in Ekajiok in Ogoja LGA, including nursing mothers, adults and children, were attacked by their hosts.
“We were informed that some Ekajiok indigenes came to Abakaliki Rice Mill Limited to mill their produce but two of them allegedly went missing.
“The Ekajiok people on getting the information started attacking Ebonyi indigenes residing in their area, destroying their houses, shops and other valuables.
“It took the intervention of the police from Ogoja Area Command and Ohaneze Ndigbo to save the displaced persons and send them home.”
Mr Simon Agena, who spoke on behalf of the displaced persons, said that Ekajiok youths looted and destroyed shops and other property belonging to Ebonyi indigenes on May 3.
“We have lost all we had. The shirt I am putting on is the only thing that was left for me during the attack.
“We do not have problems with our host community to warrant such attack but a community leader told me that the youths were reacting to the alleged missing of their two persons in Abakaliki,” Agena said.
The people appealed to the Ebonyi government to come to their aid, saying that they were dying of hunger and had nothing to fend for themselves.
ASP Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state told NAN that the command had yet to be formally briefed on the issue.
“We learnt that a large number of persons clustered in front of the state government’s Cabinet Office, opposite the police headquarters, but we are yet to be briefed on the issue,” Odah said.