The governor of Ebonyi state and Chairman of South east governors forum, Dave Umahi, has called on the Nigeria Army to help mediate in the dispute between some residents living on the border between Ebonyi and Cross River state.
Umahi was speaking at the commissioning ceremony of an Urban Water Treatment Plant at the 82 division Nigeria Army, Abakpa cantonment, Enugu, on Wednesday.
He told the Chief of Army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai that: ‘We have a very disturbing situation over our boundaries with Cross River state be it at Ikwo axis, be it Abakaliki axis or Izzi axis, the stories are quite disturbing.
But I want to thank you because the GoC 82 division has demonstrated character and content.
He has done everything he could; standing with us and shuttling between Abakaliki and Cross River to see how he could establish peace, but we have quite a number of challenges and only you can solve that problem.”
The Ebonyi governor made an appeal: It is time to enforce peace in that place and I am happy that you are here, sir, to hear me, because if nothing is done, it has gotten to a point that you could see that there is a war between Ebonyi and Cross River states.
As the chief security officer of Ebonyi state, something ought 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 am appealing to you while thanking you for deploying soldiers to the areas; but the barrack in Ebonyi state is now very empty. We don’t have enough soldiers and the little we have, have been posted to these locations.
So I appeal to you sir to do everything you can to assist us, give us more soldiers, enforce peace between Ebonyi and Cross River states. You will be remembered for this sir,” Governor Umahi concluded.
Meanwhile, the governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has commended the army for the water project describing it as a wonderful initiative.
‘It is indeded with great joy that we receive the news of this project. It will help in no small measure to increase water supply to the barrack. It is indeed a welcome complement to supply drinkable water to the Enugu metropolis as it will also help to make greater improvement on our major water projects at Ajali and Oji.’
Ugwuanyi said that the scheme requires urgent and substantial upgrade to meet with contemporary realities.
‘We are however hopeful that the anticipated approval and release of the loan recently secured by the federal government for the upgrade of the Enugu and Nsukka water schemes would be able to tackle this problems substantially and ensure the attainment of our objectives in this vital sector of the economy.’
Ugwuanyi popularly called Gburugburu, expressed hope that areas of collaboration and cooperation with the Nigerian army would be identified especially the possibility of replicating the technology and expertise employed to execute this particular project to the benefit of all.
Also in an address, the Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai recalled that the issue of water in Enugu dated back to when he was a second lieutenant and had remained a perennial problem.
He appreciated the efforts of the governor in supporting the project, and called on him to replicate it. Buratai however assured him that the army would remain professional, apolitical, and responsive.
The General officer Commanding the 82 division of the Nigeria army, Major General Adamu Abubakar said that the idea of constructing a mini water works was conceived and it was to harvest, purify, and reticulate portable water from the nearby Ekulu river which flows right behind the barrack parameter fence.
‘It is worthy to note that the river flows all year round regardless of the season. On completion of the project, the barrack can boast of about one million litres of water per day’.
Abubakar added that nearby communities would benefit from the project.