The Akwa Ibom State government has waded into the communal clashes between Okopedi and Amamong in Okobo local government area, with a call for peaceful coexistence even as relief materials worth millions of naira have been distributed to the victims.
Similarly, several communities recently displaced on account of cult related crises in Inen clan of Oruk Anam local government area Akwa Ibom State have also been cautioned to return to the path of peace, and contribute their utmost to the building of a peaceful society.
The state deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo who made the call at Okobo and Oruk Anam at the weekend, said it was necessary for the warring communities to sheath their swords and accommodate one another for peace to reign in the areas.
Ekpo stressed that with the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic already taking its toll on the economic fortunes of the State, it would be irresponsible for communities which hitherto lived together to resort to wanton destruction of properties and available social amenities.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Nkopuruk Ekaiko, the Deputy Governor commended the efforts of the Okobo Council Chairman, traditional rulers, security operatives and religious leaders in restoring peace to the area.
While appealing to the two communities to give peace a chance, he reminded them that no tangible development could thrive in an atmosphere of chaos and war, warning that the State government would no more send relief materials to any community which engages in what he called “man-made disaster”.
“It is erroneous for government to intervene in man-made disasters because already it is spending too much in the fight against the Covid 19 virus and no community should add to the burden of government”, Ekpo stated.
“Learn to live in peace with one another, if you do so, development will come to the area and businesses will thrive”, he emphasized.
The Council Chairman of Okobo, Dr. Sylvester Attah advisef that ed that nothing could be gained from war or communal clashes, noting that destroying the few available social amenities when the Local Government was already in lack of infrastructure was senseless.
Attah, while appealing to the youths in the waring communities to stop the fighting, warned that anyone fomenting trouble again in the area would be dealt with decisively and made to face the full weight of the law.
He expressed appreciation to the State government for the prompt intervention in the matter and response with the relief materials, and pledged to distribute them equitably to the the affected persons.
The Paramount Ruler of Okobo, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Ita Okokon 111, thanked the State government for the swift intervention, stating that they were working tirelessly to ensure that peace is restored and sustained in Okobo.
He disclosedd that already a traditional injunction has been placed on the disputed land and thanked the government for the relief materials..
One of the victims, Florence Lawrence Ekpenyong, who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries lamented the wanton destruction meted on innocent people and thanked the State government for coming to their aid.
At Amamong Okobo, a Community leader, Engr. Bernard Asuquo expressed appreciation to the State government for the prompt intervention and donations and promised to respect the injunction placed by the traditional rulers.
At Oruk Anam, the chairman of the Council, Mr. Kingsley Frank thanked the Udom Emmanuel administration for the cooperation in bringing an end to the cult skirmishes in the 19 villages of Inen clan of the area as well as its swift reaction in bringing relief materials to cushion the effects of the crises.
The Paramount Ruler, Akuku Johnson Johnny Obosi used the occasion to commiserate with Governor Udom Emmanuel over the recent loss of lives of prominent elders of the state, and pledged the preparedness of the traditional institution in cooperating with the government to find a lasting solution to crises in the area.