Cult clash: Over 3,000 displaced persons beg Akwa Ibom gov to return home



Over 3,000 persons displaced by cult clash at Oruk Anam local government area, Akwa Ibom state, have appealed to Governor Udom Emmanuel for necessary security actions  that will bring peace for them to  return home.

The supremacy war between Debam and Iceland confraternities in Inen community laid to the death of dozens of persons while forcing many to vacate their home for safety.

Speaking at the Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDP) in Ikot Ibritam during the visit of the state Chief Judge to the camp over the weekend, a retired Police Inspector Mr Okon Josiah Udo said the displaced persons in the area were eager to return to their houses.

Udo said he escaped death by the whiskers in the hands of some cultists in his compound when he attempted to broker peace between the rival cult groups but the cultist turned back to attack him.

“Your Lordship, I was shot on my ear and shoulder on September this year by the suspected cultists who invaded my compound to kill me because I persuaded them to stop killings in the community. Three bullets were extracted from my body. Now, I am still in pains. We have fled from our homes and sleep here under harsh whether conditions. Please ,we want to return to the community now sieged by the hoodlums,” he said.

Narrating their ordeal in the Camp, another victim Mrs Esther Akpan said the displaced persons were confronted with hunger, separation from  family members and lack of concentration in economic activities such as farming, trade as well as other activities that generate income for their survival.

“Our children have not been to school, no market for any economic transactions and even churches have been deserted as the suspected cultists sieged the community killing and terrorizing the area daily,” he said.

The Paramount Ruler Akuku Johnson Johnny Obosi told the state  chief Judge to draw attention of governor Udom Emmanuel to the plight of the people who have fled their homes for six months because of cult related voilence in the community.

Obosi warned the media against negative publicity of the crisis in the area saying bad press could portray the area as insecure for investors and discourage them in various investment plans in the community.

“Your Lordship, the Displaced Persons here are desirous to return to their homes. Please let His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel initiates security operations that will bring peace to area so that our people can return home,” he said.

Speaking to Displaced Persons at the Camp in Ikot Ibritam, the State Chief Judge Justice Godwin Abraham said he was moved to see things for himself at the camp based on media reports about the plight of the people.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed by what I see here. I was told only 800 persons are in the camp but here ,I have seen over 5000 persons are displaced. I have seen men, elderly women, children, nursing mothers and even pregnant women.

“I would make report to the state government to ensure that something is done because if something is not done, it could bring catastrophe in the place.

“I would hold talks with the Commissioner of police to also ensure that normalcy returns to Inen Community anc the people returned home. This is the time people clear their farmland for cultivation. This would affect the people economically,” he said.

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