By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—MIDIM Atan and neighbouring communities in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have raised alarm over cult related violence increasing in the state, pleading with the Federal Government to deploy security agents to the state to avoid turning the state into a theatre of cult war.
At a briefing in Abuja, a cross section of the indigenes of the affected areas, who claimed to have escaped attacks from a cult group, listed atrocities committed by the group to include robbery, murder, attacks on community markets, and other criminal activities.
Victor Udom and Ubong Okon Udoh, who identified themselves as representatives of the communities, alleged that various security agencies in the state were aware of the development and had even confirmed a growing network of Akwa Marine cult group in neighbouring Abia and Rivers states recently but, lamented that proportionate action had not been taken against the dreaded group.
The group which, according to them, emerged during the 2011 election, had unleashed untold hardship, fear, deaths and destruction on the once peaceful community.
They said the community set up an amnesty committee to persuade the group and restore peace in the area, but the cultists shunned the overtures and on August 11, 2017, shot dead the chairman of the committee, Mr. Monday Udo Ekanem, in his home.
Udom claimed the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services, DSS, and other security and government agencies lacked the will to tackle the menace in the area, and called for an overhaul of the security arrangement in the state.
“The continued inability to secure the attention of the security agencies through several petitions already submitted has escalated threat levels and increase in physical and psychological torture to the victims and the entire community up to and including the murder of many citizens of the community in the hands of the cultists who still roam freely in the community working with a syndicated group. If you talk about presence of security agencies, we have a police formation in Essien Udim, and we have an Area Command Headquarters in Ikot Ekpene, which is not up to five or 10 kilometres from Midim,” he lamented.