EGGON CULTURAL AND DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
TEXT OF A JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE EGGON CULTURAL AND DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (ECDA) EYM, ECDA WOMEN’S WING HELD ON TUESDAY MAY 14, 2013 AT NASSARAWA EGGON ON THE GROWING STATE OF UNCERTAINTY AND TENSIONS ARISING FROM UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT AT ALAKYO VILLAGE ON MAY 7, 2013
LET THERE BE PEACE
- Gentlemen of the Press, circumstances have made it expedient for me to address you again. You may recall that on November 27, 2012, we had cause to address the press on the security challenges confronting the State.
- On Friday May 10, 2013, the leadership of National ECDA, being the umbrella socio-cultural association of the Eggon people convened at the Palace of their paramount traditional ruler, the Aren Eggon in response to the call of His Highness.
- The meeting, which was well attended, deliberated on the incident that took place at Alakyo village, Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State on Tuesday May 7, 2013 wherein many lives of both the security agents and villagers were needlessly lost. Hereby are some of the issues raised or deliberated upon:
- We roundly condemn the incident that led to the mindless destruction of lives at Alakyo, in this age when there are more and better opportunities and institutions for crisis-resolution. While we condemn the killing, we equally condemn the sending of such number of security on an operation that could have been handled by few people without loss of lives.
- There is no justification whatsoever for the barbaric killing and wanton destruction that have set the State backward.
- We commiserate with all who lost loved ones and property.
- Gentlemen of the Press, while we condemn the untimely death of policemen and other villagers, we join other Nigerians in questioning the rationale behind sending that number of police and other security agents to, according to reports, arrest one man.
- We also lament that this unfortunate and unpleasant incident happened when far reaching measures are being taken by the people to put to an end the long-drawn crisis that has been witnessed in this part of the State for over two years. It should be stated that the Fulani and Eggon have since worked out measures at finding lasting peace and the measures are yielding the desired results. It is sad that this ugly incident happened. We however are determined to ensure the sustenance of peace.
- While we appreciate the statutory responsibility of the Nasarawa State Government to adopt measures it deems suitable at arresting breakdown of law and order, it is unwise of the government to discountenance genuine efforts by the people themselves and at no cost to the government.
10. While we call on the Federal and Nasarawa State Governments to urgently take more and far-reaching measures to restore normalcy, we call on the Federal Government to set up a high-powered Commission of Inquiry to establish the remote and immediate causes or factors that culminated into that unfortunate episode of Tuesday May 7, 2013.
11. We therefore appeal to all the people to sheath their sword, embrace peace, pick their hoes and return to farm.
12. We caution all and sundry against rumour peddling which only fuels or worsens the problem.
13. We appreciate that no meaningful governmental and/or personal development can take place in an atmosphere of crisis.
14. We therefore call on all the youths in the State and the nation at large to as a matter of urgency embrace peace. All and everybody in possession of arms and/or ammunition should hand them over to the security agencies. The youth should channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters as well as channel their energies to productive activities. Nasarawa State of our collective dream cannot be attained in an atmosphere of violence, deep-seated hatred for one another leading to destruction of valuable lives and properties that has been witnessed for quite some time in this State. This is the moment of truce that should be embraced by all.
15. We call on all Eggon people to continue to embrace peace as they have always done. They must never allow themselves to be misled to take up arms against anybody.
16. We also call for urgent dialogue between leaders of all the communities in Nasarawa State, with a view to understanding the causes and proffering permanent solutions and forestall re-occurrence.
17. Meanwhile, we appeal to everybody to remain law-abiding and allow peace to reign even as the State Government takes comprehensive and long-term solutions.
18. We also caution against demonising and criminalising every Eggon person. We have noticed situations where every Eggon person is a suspect and a target for attack. We hasten to condemn the selective ill-treatment of policemen of Eggon extraction by the Nasarawa State Police Command. We are not against prosecution of anybody found culpable in the matter but this should not be on the basis that simply because a person is Eggon, so he is not merely a suspect but pronounced guilty and subjected to inhuman treatment even before investigation. This is totally reprehensible.
19. We condemn the politicisation of the Ombatse and the crisis by the Governor and certain individuals or groups. If you say Ombatse came into existence to work for the emergence of an Eggon person as Governor, does it not therefore imply that you are demonising and criminalising the Eggon because of your political interest come 2015?
20. We suggest that the Governor should rather be more embracing and more temperate in his actions and utterances to assure the Eggon people that he is Governor for all citizens of the State.
21. However, we assure all concerned of the unflinching loyalty of the Eggon people to the Federal and Nasarawa State Governments at all times and pledge to cooperate to find lasting solutions to the crises that have engulfed parts of Nasarawa State.
22. Gentlemen of the Press, while we appreciate you for your professional calling to source and disseminate information, we urge that such (should) be done in accordance with the ethics of the profession. We are not pleased with the rather one-sided news reports published and broadcast by some media. We also enjoin media men to carry out thorough investigation before rushing to publish or air. There is so much misinformation, distortions and half-truths arising from at times, deliberate ignorance about the ideals and activities of the Ombatse group.
23. Finally, the Eggon traditional council and Eggon socio-cultural associations (ECDA, EYM and Women ECDA) will continue to employ all measures to ensure the return and sustenance of peace in the land.
MR CHRIS E. MAMMAN
Eggon Cultural and Development Association
COMRADE DANIEL Y ANYUABAGA
Eggon Youth Movement