Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, Wednesday, raised the alarm over a looming war between Ebonyi and Cross River State.
Umahi stated this at the 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, Enugu during the commissioning of an Urban Treatment Plant at the Abakpa Cantonment, Enugu.
Those present the event included the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Nkem Okeke.
The Ebonyi Governor who acknowledged that a detachment of soldiers was also already at the crisis border town between the two States, urged the Army Chief to intensify efforts in order to end the carnage going on in the area.
“We have very disturbing situation over the boundary dispute with Cross River, be it at Ikwo, Achi, be it at Abakiliki axis, be it at Izzi. The stories are quite disturbing.
“But I want to thank you because the GOC has demonstrated that this country is a country that is united in love. He has done everything he could in standing with us, shuttling between Abakiliki and Cross River States to see how he could establish peace.
“If nothing is done, it has gotten to a period that it could be seen that as a war between Ebonyi and River States. God forbid; but I am telling you the truth as the Chief Security Officer of Ebonyi State.
“Several of our people have been slaughtered in the area, thousands of houses have been razed down”, he said, stressing that the situation had already assumed a war-like dimension.
He, therefore, called for a deployment of more soldiers to the State to complement the efforts of the soldiers on ground.
“Something has to be done. It is difficult and disheartening to sit and see our people being slaughtered, houses in thousands being burnt. It is not what we all signed before our people.
“So, I’m appealing for enough soldiers. The little we have, we have positioned them to all these troubled areas. So, I appeal to you sir, to do everything you can to assist us. Give us more soldiers to enforce peace between Ebonyi and Cross River States.”
Earlier, Buratai assured that the Nigerian army would remain apolitical in all its dealings in line with its constitutional mandate.
“Nigerian Army will remain apolitical in the discharge of our constitutional roles”, he declared, stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari had continued to show enormous support to the Military.
“We thank the President and Commander-in-Chief who has given us support to do what we are doing to administer troops in the barracks and in the various operational areas across the country”, he said.
The Army Chief hailed Governor Ifeanyi Ugwunayi of Enugu State, who he said had remained a strong pillar to the Division.
Buratai disclosed that Ugwuanyi did not only provide transformer for the Water Plant but also made tremendous financial support to the project. He added that the Governor had also pledged to tar the access road leading to the facility.
He equally commended the General Officer Commanding the 82 Division, Major General A.B. Abubakar for initianting and seeing to the completion of the project.
The project, which cost about N200 million, was totally executed by the Nigerian Army Engineers.
In his speech, Governor Ugwuanyi, who described the project as laudable, assured of the State Government’t continuous support to the military.
He expressed confidence that “this facility will in no small measure help to boost water supply within the barracks and its environs.”
The Governor revealed that despite the challenges of fund, electricity, deteriorating facilities, the Enugu State Government had made tremendous progress in its effort to make water very accessible to the people.
He said the peaceful nature of Enugu, which had made to be adjudged one of the safest States in the country was possible through the effort of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, especially the 82 Division.