The people of Edeaniagu clan in Amigbo Ishi-Ozalla community, Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, have again cried out over fresh cases of segregation and ostracization against them.

Members of the community spoke during a world press conference in Enugu on Tuesday.

They described the development as man’s inhumanity to man, intimidation and wickedness that must not only be condemned but should carry severe sanctions against the perpetrators.

Chairman of the clan, Chief Uchenna Nweke said the issue was becoming unbearable and appealed to relevant stakeholders and men of goodwill to speak out now to address the ugly menace before it results in an uncontrollable crisis.

According to Chief Nweke, the entire people of Edeaniagu clan, comprising seven villages were pronounced ostracised, denied of opportunity from their employment quota at the UNTH and perpetually excluded from participating in any form of leadership of the community, including the Igweship position, Town Union Executive and even women or youth wings.

“We have complained to the Enugu State House of Assembly in the last administration. We also went to the Government House to lodge our complaints.

“The then Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi received us, and after listening to our case, ordered the suspension of the traditional ruler that was elected amidst such ungodly circumstances.

“He didn’t stop there, a panel of enquiry was constituted and we were asked to go and make peace. I remembered he even told them to go round the community and announce the cancellation of the pronounced ostracization to allow everyone to participate in the leadership of the community.

“As I speak with you now, none of those issues were addressed. We are still waiting for the result of the panel and that is why my people are surprised over the restatement of the suspended traditional ruler.

“So, you can see that the injustice is still there and my people cannot keep quiet, he concluded,” he lamented.

Also speaking, an octogenarian and traditional head of Edeaniagu clan, High Chief Joseph Nweke said that despite being the Aborigines of Ishi-Ozalla, their people have been subjected to a series of harassments and total denial of everything they have in common.

Nweke, who battled to control tears while narrating their ordeals, appealed to Governor Peter Mbah to save them from the age-long suffering by finding a lasting solution to the problem.

A philanthropist and daughter of the community, Professor Muna Nweke Okoye regretted that despite the abolition of every form of segregation in their land as a whole some years back, some individuals were technically using it to cause confusion and create division among the people.

Prof. Muna, who holds the title of Ufam Ozalla (the water goddess), went down memory lane to prove that the Edeaniagu clan were truly the aborigines of Ishi-Ozalla and insisted that the world today has no room for any form of segregation.

“Before those that came from “Okpatu Oke” came, our ancestors were already here doing their farm work. We also have our neighbouring villages, Akegbe, Udi, Agbogugu, Ituku and Obe.

“When they came, my forefathers welcomed them and there was no discrimination but today they decided that they will eat what belongs to all of us together and now decide to segregate and begin to say they have ostracised my people.

“It is not good and that is what is causing trouble. That the entire Edeaniagu will not be part of the leadership of Ishi-Ozalla Community and we say no to that.

“These were the injustices that were meted to my people that we resisted and will continue to resist them. At the right time, we will invite the government and the press to come and see how we live in Ishi-Ozalla and see our lands, our families and how we live, let the archeologists tell us the history of villages.

“If they said we will not rule them, they will not rule us either,” Prof. Muna declared.

She appealed to Governor Mbah to grant the request already made for a new autonomous community as a permanent solution to the crisis rocking the area for years now.

She stated that no amount of intimidation or harassment would make them to accept or continue to leave with such demonic conditions again, reiterating their readiness to write the National Assembly, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Human Rights Groups, among other relevant stakeholders, to make sure that justice was served and sustainable peace returned to Ishi-Ozalla.

The leader of the women from the seven villages that make up Edeaniagu, Mrs Obiageli Agu and the youth leader of the clan, Mr Odirachukwu Nweke told journalists that women and the youths were the most vulnerable of the crisis as it affected people’s activities at schools, markets, churches and even at social gatherings, insisting that the crisis had gotten to an irreconcilable stage.

Others who also spoke on the issue, including Mr Uluchukwu Nweke, Chief Peter Agu, Pastor Luke Eze, Chief Amaechi Nevo, Chief Felix Owo, Chief Simon Nwora, High Chief Anthony Nweke, Mr S. Nevo, Mr Nwaokafor Nweke, Mr Isaac N. Nweke and Chief Uchechukwu Okonkwo asked Governor Peter Mbah-led administration to revisit the panel of enquiry set up by the immediate past administration or constitute a new one as a way of finding a lasting solution to the crisis.

The people recalled what they passed through in the hands of the opposition supporting Governor Mbah in the 2023 general election, saying that restoring peace in Ishi-Ozalla would be the highest benefit from his administration.

Ostracization: Enugu community cries out over fresh harassment, segregation

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