By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
A victim of recent inter communal boundary dispute between Enyigba and Enyibuchiri in Abakaliki and Ikwo local government areas, and between Igbeagu and Ukele in Izzi and Ukele local government areas, has alleged that his mother was killed in the crisis.
The victim, 16 -year- old Festus Onwe, who hails from Ndiegbe village in Enyigba, Abakaliki local government area, has been a victim of circumstances from his tender age.
He told Orient Daily that he was first given out by his late father to live with his friend, who hails from Ikwo local government area, but was forced home when crisis broke out between Enyibuchiri and Enyigba.
According to him, he was forced by inter-communal crisis between Ikwo and Izzi to depart Ikwo to his Ndiegbe village where another crisis engulfed his family.
Narrating how the war disconnected him from his mother and siblings, his bitter experiences in the bush and how he found himself in Abakaliki, he said, “I have not seen my mother since the day we escaped. The only thing I heard was ‘is this how I lost my children?’. I don’t know if she has been killed or still alive. My father gave me out to an Izzi man. I did not know where he knew him. There was outbreak of crisis sometime ago and they took me back to my place.
“There was another outbreak of crisis between the people of Ikwo and Izzi. We left Ikwo to Igbeagu in Izzi local government area. During the crisis in Izzi, I heard my mother crying and saying, ‘is this how I lost my children?’. I have not seen my mother since that day we escaped.
“We escaped through the window and ran to a place called Ugwuachara. When we got there, we told them what was happening. At a time, someone shouted that somebody was approaching us with gun. I did not know if that person was from Cross River or Izzi. It was at this point that my sisters left me and ran away.
“When I was trying to escape, I saw two persons whose hands and legs were tied. I saw another old woman there crying; I dodged them and ran away. When they left me, I slept in the bush. Thank God nobody saw me. The following day, I came out at Nwezenyi and I saw someone packing, I begged him to join him in his car and he carried me and dropped me at Spera-in-Deo flyover.
“I was helpless there, as I sat at a corner and was crying, a Good Samaritan who saw me crying bought food and fruits for me. He later took me to their house, and later handed me over to one Roseline Igboke, who took me to Abakaliki local government area.
“I was later taken to my village, when I got there, I did not see my father’s compound. I asked the people I met there if this was my father’s compound; they told me I should ask myself.”
Commenting on the development, Ajah Ikenna, social welfare officer in Abakaliki Local Government Area, Ebonyi State, told Orient Daily that concerted efforts made to trace Festus Onwe’s village after the matter was reported in his office, were unsuccessful.
According to him, community leaders and political stakeholders in the area were engaged but could not identify Festus, noting that his parents’ house may have been demolished during the crisis.
“We went to Onunweduoga, but nobody could identify him. He was unable to recognise where he was living.
“He mentioned some places which were real. Those places he mentioned are in existence and those were the places we took him to. Through the assistance of the development union there, we were able to identify some places.
“But you know that place was in crisis, so not everybody was around. But the people we met there cannot identify him. I can’t tell if his parents died in the war.
“But going by his narrative, when the crisis started between Enyigba and Ikwo, he ran with the sister to Igbeagu. They stayed there until another crisis erupted between Igbeagu and Cross River. That was when he ran in different direction until he found himself in Abakaliki”, he stated.