The Ebonyi State Government yesterday pledged its readiness to pay compensation to those who lost their loved ones and properties destroyed during the Ezillo and Ezza-Ezillo communal crises in Ishielu Local Government Area of the state.
Chief David Umahi made the declaration while receiving the report of a review committee on the matter headed by the Deputy Governor, Dr.Kelechi Igwe at the Government House, Abakaliki.
“We are going to find a way to assist those who lost their loved ones. Some of the people lost their properties and we are not happy about this. So we are on top negotiation with them on the best approach to rehabilitate them, compensate them and reunite with them as our brothers and sisters”.
Gov Umahi, who was full of gratitude to the review committee for ensuring that peace returned to the area, assured that the state Executive Council would deliberate on the report and come up with a White Paper.
The governor underscored the importance of peace in any given society, stressing that without peace there would be no development.
He said, “There can be no development in an atmosphere of rancour and bitterness, suspicion and anger. One of the virtues of a Christian is the ability to forgive. If you can’t forgive honestly, I can’t take you seriously as a Christian, whether you are a minister or not.
“You can only develop by the reason of the peace you seek. You can only prosper by the reason of the love you share with one another. We are one people, one destiny, the same God.”
Umahi requested that 50 dedicated Ezillo people and 50 Ezza-Ezillo people would meet with the government to sign a peace agreement which would be sent to House of Assembly to ensure the return of lasting peace in the area.
The governor thanked the two warring communities for showing understanding to embrace peace, stating that an implementation committee to be headed by Rev. Father Abraham Nwali, would be set up to commence immediate rehabilitation of people affected by the crisis.
He announced that 500 hectares of land had been mapped out from the waring zones for the citing of social amenities.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Igwe, had explained that the report of the 10-man committee, earlier presented to the state Executive Council, was unanimously adopted by the review committee.
Igwe said it was gratifying that the people of the communities showed understanding with the committee by making concessions, including conceding land.