Ayade appoints Ndoma-Egba peace committee chair on warring communities

Governor Ben Ayade has appointed the former Senate leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, to head the peace, reconciliation and rehabilitation committee on the Ebom/Ebijaghara and Ediba/Usumutong communal crisis.

The crisis which had claimed many lives with attendant destruction of means of liveliood and properties, is believed to have started in early seventies.

Speaking Tuesday while inaugurating the committee, governor Ayade lamented destruction and loss of lives in the four communities arising from land dispute.

He charged the committee to come up with recommendations that would “seek ways and means to bring lasting peace to the people of Ebom , Ebijaghara, Ediba and Usumutong people, to put a lasting peace and bring hope to our people.”

Responding, Senator Ndoma Egba, assured the governor that his committee would bring peace to the four communities saying, “we will put our lives, our bodies, our blood and our souls into this assignment.

“Your Excellency as you know I have carried out assignments locally, nationally and internationally, but I want to say on behalf of the members of my committee that this is the assignment of our lives, this is our most important assignment.”

In a chat with reporters shortly after being sworn in, the former Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said Ayade was indeed seeking a permanent solution to the recurring crisis.

“I believe that since this is coming from government and the Governor himself, and going by the way the Governor spoke during the inauguration with a lot of passion, a lot of emotion, I believe the Governor is sincere,” he said.

On logistics to carry out the onerous duty, Ndoma Egba said the governor had already approved an estimated budget for the assignment and that the committee was waiting for release of funds, which he said, could come in few days time.

On how the crisis had lasted, the former Senate leader said, “it is surprising that this crisis has remain this long. The very first murder case I handled as a young lawyer was from that community and it was as a result of communal crisis. It was in 1979.

“It has been the same story for years, but the good news is that they, on their own, initiated the peace process. They have sought for and pursued peace.

“What we are doing now is to find a strategy to sustaining the peace process and I believe the first step is to rehabilitate the Ebijaghara people who were misplaced. Let them return to their land, and then give them necessary infrastructure to support them economically,” he stated.

He disclosed further that considering the 30 days time frame given to the committee for the assignment, the job could be intense but that the committee was determined to deliver.