By Tony Nyong
UYO—THE murder of a farmer, Mr. Augustine Akpan, of Ikot Akpan Udo in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, by Andoni militants of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, weekend, raised concern as to whether peace would return to the Ikot Akpan Udo neighbourhood.
It will be recalled that the community was destroyed on August 28, 2008, by Andoni militants of Eastern Obolo LGA, in an unprecedented mayhem that left 11 Ikot Akpan Udo citizens, dead.
Augustine Akpan, 38, whose corpse was suspected to have been thrown by the rampaging Andonis into the river separating the two communities, was the bread winner of his family of four and five other dependants.
Vanguard learnt that Ikot Akpan Udo people, whose homes were completely burnt in the 2008 Andoni mayhem, had been scattered as refugees in neighbouring communities.
Village Head of Ikot Akpan Udo, Chief Oscar Abel, told Vanguard that he suspected that his subject might have been strangled to death as there was no blood stain found where his sandals and belts were discovered.
He accused the state government of not wanting to relocate the Andonis from their domain, stressing that the two communities can never live together any longer.
Chief Abel said government had set up a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the repeated clashes and the way forward but noted that surprisingly, government had been silent on the matter since then, adding that the state Deputy Governor, Engr. Patrick Ekpotu had addressed chiefs of Ikot Akpan Udo and the Andonis on the matter.
September 18, 2009, and had spoken on the need for them to embrace peace, but he wondered why the Andonis would provoke them and murder their kinsman.
The village head urged the State Government to expedite action on the issuance of a white paper and relocation of the Amazaba people to their ancestral home in Rivers State, or Utana Okoroete, so that justice can prevail.
Recounting the loss of her husband, widow of the deceased, Mrs. Comfort Akpan told Vanguard that she had gone out the previous day with the husband to farm and fetch firewood and that since they could not pack all the firewood that day, the husband left home early the following day to bring the remaining firewood. She said the late husband was captured by the Andoni youths and tortured to death.
Comfort said after waiting until 7.00 p.m. without the husband, she decided to inform other neighbours who then quickly mobilized to go in search of the husband.
She said the whereabout of her husband could not be ascertained until the following morning when the Village Head ordered the Youth Leader to mobilize all youths for the search, adding that they found the husband’s sandals and then followed the track to where they later found his belt.
Comfort said that with the help of the Mobile Police that accompanied them, the youths eventually got to where they discovered the deceased’s motor cycle in a nearby stream.
Contacted, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, for Ikot Abasi said the case was reported to his station but that the police considered it as that of a missing person since the deceased’s corpse was yet to be found.
The State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Onyeka Orji, told Vanguard that he was aware of the case but that he needed to be briefed properly by the Ikot Abasi D.P.O.