Bid to hijack marine police gunboats foiled
By Chioma Onuegbu
OKU-IBOKU—COMMUNITY leaders and residents of Oku Iboku, Itu Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, have denied an allegation by villagers of neighbouring Ubamat Okoyong community Odukpani Local Government, Area, Cross River State that armed men from the town threatened and attacked them for harbouring Ikot Offiong people, reportedly embroiled in a land dispute with Oku-Iboku.
The community leaders, who responded to the claim by Ubambat Okoyong residents in our last edition that they were under siege by armed men from Oku Iboku for offering shelter to Ikot Offiong people, described the allegations as unfounded and false.
Govt should investigate allegations – Ekpema
Youth leader of Ikot Atuen in Oku Iboku, Idongesit Ekpema, asserted: “Ubambat Okoyong people lied against us because we have never attacked or invaded that community.
Relief materials and money
“I think that they are only trying to capitalize on this crisis to get relief materials and money from government because we do not have any issue with them and we will not have. Sometimes, when crisis like this happens, you may even see neighbouring towns go to burn abandoned buildings in order to get government attention and sympathy.
“Let the government investigate the charge and they will find out the truth. Anybody that said we invaded that community lied. We are praying for interventions to come so that this crisis will come to an end and no one would be going to attack any community on reprisal. Ikot Offiong people are the ones attacking us almost on daily basis, killing our women and youths. That was why we cried out to government to send marine police and gunboats to come to our rescue.
Attempt to hijack gunboats
“They even came two days ago (Tuesday) and tried to hijack the gunboats that the Marine police are using to patrol the waterways. If you talk to any of the marine policemen in this area, they will this to you. It is not possible for Oku Iboku, which is only a community to fight the entire Odukpani local government. So I am telling you that that accusation is false. They may have even gone to burn down some abandoned structures and then claim that we attacked them.”
Claims of missing persons, attack are lies – Emah
Also speaking, chairman, Oku Iboku Clan Council, Elder Ability Emah, who commended the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, asserted: “The claims of missing persons, allegation that Oku Iboku people attacked them last week are all lies.
“How could we have gone there to attack them when military men and police have been positioned here for almost a month now? They are now looking for a way to cover up because we have raised the alarm and our government has also raised the alarm that Odukpani communities want to kill us all.
“I am talking to you as a community leader, that Oku Iboku has never invaded Ubambat Okonyong community and we are not planning such a thing. Never! They lied against us, may be because they are of the same stock as people from Odukpani local government area. I am only suspecting that military men are also positioned there and the Ikot Offiong people seem not to be comfortable with it because there was rumour that they were planning to use that area to attack us and we raised the alarm.”
“We are very, very grateful to our state governor for providing two police gunboats to us. The military men are still on ground, but we need more marine police and gunboats at the beach areas because we are hearing that they said they will not give up fighting until they wipe out the whole of Oku Iboku.”