Ohafia monarchs in Abia State on Monday urged the military high command to end the clampdown on the area.
The clampdown followed the killing of six soldiers by unknown gunmen in Amangwu Ohafia.
The military subsequently sacked the town and imposed a blockade on Ohafia.
However, rising from a meeting at Udumeze Palace, the monarchs urged the military to end the siege and allow normal activities to resume.
The monarchs that signed the communique are: His Royal Paramountcy. Professor. E U L Imaga, Udumeze Ohafia / (Ezieogo Elu); His Royal Majesty Ezieogo Emmanuel Kalu Kalu Onugu ( Ezieogo Asaga); His Royal Majesty . Ezieogo Mba Odo Okereke (Ezieogo Akanu); His Royal Majesty Ezieogo AWA Nwankwo (Ezieogo Amaekpu); and His Royal Majesty. Ezieogo Mmecha Ugbu Mmecha (Ezieogo Amangwu)
The full statement reads:
The Council of Ohafia Monarchs, leading members of Ohafia Improvement Union (OIU) and Ohafia leaders of thoughts views with utmost concern the insecurity situation in Ohafia, resulting in series of harassment and intimidation of law abiding residents of Ohafia by Security Agencies in Ohafia.
2. We wish to state unequivocally that Ndi Ohafia and residents of Ohafia are law abiding citizens of Nigeria who deserve protections from Nigerian law enforcement agencies instead of intimidations and harassments.
3. We do not know any “Un-known Gun men” in Ohafia. The security agencies know the characters and personality profiles of deviant elements in the community. They should device means of arresting such personalities rather than stigmatising all youths and residents of Ohafia.
4. The Council of Ohafia Monarchs have used various traditional instruments of authority (Imomo, Ogele, Akpan, etc) to advice and counsel Ohafia Youths and persons to be law-abiding and responsible citizens.
5. The continuous lock-down of commercial and social activities in Ohafia Community has completely paralyzed economic activities and well-being of Ndi Ohafia
6. The Siege at Amangwu Ohafia has turned the people of Amangwu to internally displaced persons (IDPs)in their land. This situation has created fears and trepidation to other neighbouring Ohafia communities.
7. We appreciate the presence, services and comradeship of the Nigerian Army and other Security Agencies in Ohafia, and hope it will so remain cordial to all concerned.
8. We however, condemn the continuous harassments and intimidation of well meaning and law abiding sons and daughters / residents of Ohafia. And we hereby request the Brigade Commander to reconsider their strategies and tactics of maintaining peace and harmony in Ohafia Communities without dehumanizing and intimidating of peace loving persons in Ohafia land. We ask for a return of economic and social activities in Ohafia.”