Presided over by the Honourable Justice Eyo Effiom Ita, the High Court sitting in Ugep, Yakurr LGA, Cross River State, has set January 7, 2014, for judgement in a matter brought before it by the sacked Ebijakara community of Abi Local Government Area, seeking in suit HUG/49/2010, among other things, a declaration that the alleged dispersal or forced relocation of the entire community by armed militia suspected to be from neighbouring Ebom community, was instigated, prompted and financed by chiefs, elders, top civil servants, businessmen, community leaders and youths from the Ebom community to prevent the people of Ebijakarja from returning to their ancestral home.
The Ebijakara community also sought an order to declare that the January 15, 2006 invasion of their community which caused the forceful exodus of the entire community is an invasion of the fundamental rights to privacy and family ties of the Ebijakara people, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Calitown.com investigations show that litigation between both communities in Abi LGA, over matters of land date back to 1911, 1927, 1962, and 1964, with the 6, 000 inhabitants of Ebijakara insisting that their more illustrous neighbours, the Ebom community, are their tenants, sparking over time, skirmishes that culminated in the 2006 sacking of the entire Ebijakara community in an assault that left more than 200 Ebijakara indigenes either dead or missing.
Government’s reaction has come in the tacit condemnation of the Nigeria Police for not doing enough to prevent the sacking. Her official documents, part of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the matter, No. 1 of 2007, page 21, paragraphs 14. 42, advised that in view of the Police’s abdication of her responsibility to protect the Ebijakara community, government “should officially inform the Commissioner of Police of the consequences of its action in the total withdrawal from the scene of the hostilities … and adequately caution them to guard against a repeat of this action while striving to carry out its statutory duties”. While they await the verdict, it seems unlikely from calitown.com investigations that the Ebijakara community may return to their ancestral home soon as government has been unable to take complete hold of the remote and immediate causes of this ugly incident.
Additional info: O. Obono-Obla
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