Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has promised to rescue children abducted from Enyigba community of Abakaliki Local Government Area following its land dispute with Enyibichiri community of Ikwo Local Government Area.
The governor’s promise was contained in a statement issued on Monday by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, Uchenna Orji.
The statement did not mention the number of children abducted and their ages.
Mr Orji said the children’s abduction by “miscreants” was the height of provocation in the sudden turn of events between both communities.
“The governor is aware that the land dispute between both communities was settled by the government with the assistance of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and bishops in the state.
“The governor, therefore, wonders why the innocent children should be abducted and enjoins stakeholders of both Izzi and Ikwo clans to condemn such an act,” the statement added.
The commissioner reiterated the governor’s resolve to rescue and re-unite the children with their families and pleaded with the Enyigba people to remain calm.
“They should prevent their children from taking laws into their hands as the governor promises that the abduction will be resolved within seven days.
“We are optimistic that with the collaboration of the government, religious leaders and stakeholders of the state the children will be released without harm,” the statement read.
Mr Orji said the governor urged the abductors to release the children within seven days with a promise of amnesty.
“Government is not willing to release any Enyibichiri leader currently in detention to underscore the value of the abducted children’s lives.
“The governor believes that every life is sacred and the lives of the abducted children matter much to the government.
“The government warns that if the children are not released within the stipulated period, it shall have no option than to effect mass arrests in the Enyibichiri community,” the statement read.
The police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Odah, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the command was not yet aware of the abduction.
“The matter has not been reported to the command and the affected community should be advised to do so,” she said.
NAN reported that the two communities are currently in conflict over the disputed land in spite of its permanent demarcation by the state government.