Sunday, 7 November 2021

Erei Crisis: Group, C'Riverians call on Traditional, Youth Leaders to ensure peace returns, wants LG boss to be proactive

The Cross River State Chapter of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta has called on the Local Government Chairman, political and traditional leaders of Biase Local Government Area to be more proactive and involved in the peace process it initiated since last year with the hope of ending the long lasting communal crisis that has plagued the Erie nation.

This was made known by representatives of the Network who appeared in a call in a radio call-in talk show on Correct 97.3 FM's 'Calabar Wetin Deh' hosted by MCdipipu.

According to the representatives of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta, its project in Erie was initiated in 2020 when it began the engagement with various stakeholders in a bid to resolve the crisis. Comrade Antigha Raphael who leads the Network prevent team and is the project manager said he and his team had paid Advocacy Visits to traditional, religious and youth leaders of the various communities that makes up Erie clan but efforts to meet with the incumbent Chair of Biase Council, Mrs Ada Egwu has proven abortive since December 2020. Again, the incumbent Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof Evara Esu, who incidentally hails from Biase was tasked to do more in resolving the crisis once and for all.

Cross Riverians and residents who called in advised that the final solution to the Erie crisis lies on the traditional and political leaders of both Erie clan and Biase Local Government Area. 

Raphael hinted that in the cause of their Advocacy many of the stakeholders kept insisting that Urugbam and Abanwan communities have cardinal role to play in resolving or sustaining the crisis. 

Speaking further, Raphael said he believes the Local Government Chairman Mrs. Ada is not proactive enough to end the crisis, stating that a proactive council boss would have taken advantage of the professional expertise Partners for Peace is bringing to resolve the crisis. 

He insisted that efforts to reach her and the Deputy Governor who happened to be indigenes of Erei since 2020 had proved abortive. 

Meanwhile, reliable information reaching TDN has it that the peace talks initiated by a peace committee in Erei Nation over the communal land grab and oil palm crisis has been stalled abruptly for about 6 weeks now.

Traditional rulers of Erei and Biase LGA
This unfortunate development was occasioned by the kidnapping of seven persons of Ekoli Edda (of Ebonyi state) and the subsequent killing of six by unidentified indigenes of Erei community of (Biase LGA). Erei suffered a reprisal attack 3 weeks ago with the beheading of one.

The stalled peace talk was recently initiated by a committee called the People's Assembly who as part of its activities geared towards achieving peace in Erei started entertaining petitions from affected communities, namely, Afono, Urugbam and Edu. However, when Egbor was due to meet with the committee, she absented herself from the meeting of the People's Assembly while, without notice, kidnapping 7 and killing 6.

As at press time, the Nigerian Police could not confirm the development.

The current communal crisis experienced in Erei is the 2018 native battles involving Egbor, Ipene, Abanwan and Urugbam; the 2019 battle of Ipene, Egbor, Umolor and Urugbam; and the 2020 communal war engulfing Egbor, Ibini, Afono, Edu and Urugbam