….Natives take refuge at IDP camp
….Demand end to cult clashes, killings
By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo indigenes of Inen clan in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State weekend cried out to the state government to come to their rescue lamenting that rampaging cultists have taken over their community.
NDV findings revealed that many of the natives have fled their homes as a result of the lingering violent clash between members of Debam and Iceland confraternities.
The troubled indigenes made the appeal when the State Chief Judge, Justice Abraham visited the Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Ikot Ibritam in Oruk Anam.
One of the victims, a retired Police Inspector, Mr Okon Udo, narrated how he was shot and maimed by the rampaging cultists in his compound while trying to broker peace between the rival cult groups.
We want to return home Udo expressed the willingness of his displaced kinsmen to return to home once peace returned to the area.
“Your Lordship, I was shot on my ear and shoulder in September this year by the suspected cultists who invaded my compound. They wanted to kill me because I appealed to them to stop the killings and other violent activities in the community.
“Three bullets were extracted from my body. I am still in pains. We fled our homes and we are now sleeping here. Our condition of living here in the camp is not good. Please, we want to return to the community,” he said.
Life in IDP camp
On her part, Mrs Esther Akpan lamented how they suffer from hunger in the camp, as they could no longer have access to their farms, or trade, stressing that most of them in the camp have been displaced from their family members.
“Our children have not been going to school; we can’t go to Church, because even the churches are deserted. We cannot go to the market to buy and sell because the cultists have taken over the community, killing and maiming people,” she lamented.
Responding, Justice Godwin Abraham who was accompanied by his wife said he was overwhelmed by what he saw at the camp.
Sleeping in the open
The chief judge, who said he was told that only about 800 persons were in the camp, however, noted that from what he saw the figure could be over 5000 persons.
He said: “This number of people has been staying outside their home. I can see some of them have been sleeping in the field. I have seen elderly men, women, children, nursing mothers and even pregnant women. I am going to make a report of what I have seen here myself to the state government to ensure that something is done; they need serious intervention.”
He further assured that he would meet with the Commissioner of Police in the state to ensure that normalcy returned to the affected community, stressing that the people need to return home especially as this is the time they clear their farmland for cultivation.