Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State yesterday confirmed that many people were killed in what he described as a full-fledged war between the Ukelle community in the state and the Izzi community in Ebonyi State.
“I received a text message that there is a full-fledged war between Cross River and Ebonyi going on right now around the Izzi, Ebonyi and Ukelle, Cross River area. Lives are being lost, they are firing and killing, even as arson is taking place there right now,” he said.
He appealed to the Chief of Air Staff Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, to domesticate one helicopter in the state in order to give the needed practical air cover along the volatile communities.
Ayade said he had called on the commander of the 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army to respond by deploying his men to stop “the slaughtering” of people in both communities.
He recalled that there was also a reported crisis between Osokpong community in Obubra, Cross River and its neighbours in Ebonyi State.
He said the call to the army and the NAF was critical as it would check the lingering crisis involving Cross River and its neighbouring states, including international communities sharing boundaries with the state.
He said: “The length of the state and its advantage of having two airports need to be considered as the factors will make the operations easy and useful.”
The Air Officer commanding Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air Force, Peter Uzezi, pledged to contact Air Force Headquarters to bring in a surveillance airplane to fly and see what exactly the situation on the ground was.
He said the NAF would ensure that Cross River and other states in the country remain secure.