Posted by By George Onah on
A DETACHMENT of battle-ready soldiers has been drafted to the federal trunk ‘A’ road: Abakaliki-Yala-Ogoja Highway, which has been blocked for over a month because of the fighting between the South Ukelle people and their erstwhile Izzi neighbours, now in Ebonyi State.
CALABAR — A DETACHMENT of battle-ready soldiers has been drafted to the federal trunk ‘A’ road: Abakaliki-Yala-Ogoja Highway, which has been blocked for over a month because of the fighting between the South Ukelle people and their erstwhile Izzi neighbours, now in Ebonyi State.
Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that the deployment of the soldiers was sequel to the prolonged fighting and failure of the police to separate the combatants from killing one another and others in the area. The movement of the soldiers was observed by the residents along the stretch of the highway.
Lorries and other vehicles that had been absent on the road for weeks were seen plying the road to the cheering of peasants and other folks around the communities.
Traders were seen jubilating while groups formed to discuss the development. The re-opening of the road is coming on the heels of the planned celebration of the new yam festival in Yala Local Government, an event which apparently triggered the joy in view of the sales which will accompany the opened road.
Travellers along the road from neighbouring Ebonyi State and those from Cross River State waved at the cheering pockets of crowd.
Children of the affected communities who had turned the long deserted road to a football pitch, jumped and waved, perhaps not aware that their former playground had become busy from that moment. Old ladies and other road-side hawkers were seen dusting their mobile kitchen in preparation for renewed business. Fighting broke out between the Ukelle and Izzi people in April this year, over disagreement between the two sides on payment of rent on land.
The Izzi who migrated to Ukelle around 1923 had been paying rent to their Ukelle landlord since then. But the migrants from Ebonyi State allegedly reneged on the agreement early this year, prompting the frowning of the South Ukelle people. The issue dragged on and could not be resolved by both sides until their tempers boiled over. War broke out and the Izzi people who had lived in the area for decades, were chased out of the entire community into Ebonyi State where they came from.
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