By Emma Una
CALABAR—The casualty figure in the recent communal conflict between the people of Wanikade and Wanihem in northern part of Cross River State may have risen to 150.
This came as Mr John Inaku, Director General of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, who earlier told NAN that the casualty figure was 150, said he was yet to visit the crisis areas, adding that the figure was an exaggeration.
Mr Inaku who said he was yet to personally visit the place said from reports he got not more than 20 persons died in the conflict, while the 150 casualty figure given earlier was exaggerated and out of context.
“From the reports I got, not more than 20 people died and about a 150 houses razed. The 150 casualty figure earlier given is exaggerated and out of context,” Inaku said
According to Inaku, he only went to Oju in Benue State, where about 1,000 people displaced from the crisis are taking refuge to deliver some relief materials for the upkeep of the children and the aged, while arrangement is being made for complete cessation of hostilities in the affected areas.
“We have taken relief materials to those displaced in the conflict who are in Oju, Benue State and about 1,000 people are in the camp we visited,” Inaku stated.
Meanwhile, the Cross River State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Ms Irene Ugbo said less than 10 persons died and about a 100 houses razed in the communal crisis.
“What is being published in the media as the number of people who died in the conflict is untrue because our men, who have been on ground since the conflict started confirmed that only seven people died.”
She said the conflict had been brought under control and those internally displaced are being put in camps.
One of the victims, Ogana Ebiale from Oyoba village in Wanikade told Vanguard that his farm and house were razed and the relief materials sent by the state government only went to some victims without taking into account that two sides were involved in the crisis.
“I lost everything to the conflict. Both my house and farm were destroyed and am now sleeping out.”
The relief materials sent by SEMA only went to one side and left us in Wanikade out.”