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Tension in Ebonyi riverine community over sale of military boat

Crisis is brewing in the riverine Ozizza community, Afikpo, in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State over purported sale of a pontoon boat the community allegedly inherited from the military when the state was in Imo State. The pontoon boat was 45 feet in size and was handed over to the people by the military administration of Amadi Ikweche in the old Imo State in 1986 to help solve the water transportation needs of the community. Although Ozziza shared boarders with Cross River State, investigations had revealed that the pontoon boat had been allegedly sold to an undisclosed person.

The alleged sale of the military boat had triggered anxiety among youths, elders in the area, among others. Some indigenes of the area said the alleged sale of the boat with which they prided for their fishing prowess came as a rude shock to them. They added that they were neither informed nor consulted by anyone before the purported action was taken. One of the villagers, Ikwor Egwu, narrated that they were stunned by the presence of some strange persons in the community who were at the river bank with a claim that they had purchased the boat.

Egwu said: “We had to summon an emergency meeting after asking them to leave our community immediately to avoid being confronted by angry youths before using the traditional ‘omu’ (palm frond) to tie round the boat because this is the only inheritance our fathers in our long journey from Imo to Abia before being carved into the present-day Ebonyi State. “Why would the government not think of either repairing it, procuring a new boat or at least informing us through a meeting, delegation or any form of deliberation whatsoever before coming up with the claim that it has sold our pontoon (boat) just by a mere radio announcement? Who is the said buyer by the way and why was our community not consulted?” Another resident of the area, Ogbonnia Chukwu, said “the youths of the community will never allow the action go unchallenged unless the government or anybody expressing interest in buying the property does the right thing.

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