Judex Okoro, Calabar
Community leaders from various villages in Etung Local Government Area of Cross River State have cried out over the killing of four persons, including Mr. Ayuk Ogar, the ward chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bendegehe Ekeim by thugs suspected to be members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The killing of the four persons on February 16, shortly after the postponement of presidential and national assembly elections, is the latest in a series of orgy of violence unleashed on their communities.
In a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and signed by chiefs and opinion leaders, including Messers Agbor Mgbe, Osonwo-Ayi Ojong, Oru Agbor, Oru Amba Bity, Ayuk Emmon, Moses Ekure Eji, Manyo Ntue Etta, Ogar Obaji and Obi Ntue Etta, they accused supporters loyal to Senator John Owan-Enoh of masterminding the dastardly act.
While accusing the APC and its leaders of turning their villages into killing fields, they appealed to the IGP to do something, urgently, to arrest the ugly situation.
Recounting what transpired on that day, the petitioners said: “At the peace meeting called by well-meaning leaders and elite of Bendeghe-Ekiem, on Saturday, February 16, 2019, Mr. Ayuk Ogar, the ward chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was brutally murdered in cold blood by a gang, led by one Agbor Mgbe, in broad day light and right in front of the peace communities panel.
“We recall that for the most part of 2018, a gang of young men held the community hostage and defied all known community authorities and rules to unleash mayhem and several acts of criminality- armed robbery, abductions and murders. Specifically, on November 4, 2018, four persons were gruesomely murdered, and several others maimed.”
Continuing, the petitioners further said: “This information as well as the nefarious activities of the thuggery gang, from February 12, are all without the knowledge of the Etung Police Division, which instantly confronted them on their patrols.
“The Etung leaders and elite rued the petition to the IGP, that the February 16 killings, just as the past ones, including the perpetrators and their sponsors, are said to be known by the police authorities in Etung.”
They informed the IGP that the list of perpetrators and sponsors are all within the knowledge of the Divisional Police officers, Etung Area Command, Ikom and the Cross River State Police Command and the office of the IGP, through the office of the Commander, Intelligence Response Team (IG-IRT), and called on the IGP, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) to save the souls of the people, by freeing them from what they termed, “sponsored insecurity across Etung local government.”
Dismissing the allegations that Senator John Owan was behind the Etung killing, spokesman for Senator John Owan Enoh Governorship Campaign Organisation, Mr. Dan Amor, in apress statement in Calabar, rather accused his political opponents of instigating the violence.
“The governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River State, John Owan Enoh, has decried and condemned, in the strongest terms, the widespread violence and killings among youths, particularly, in Bendeghe, Ekiem village in Etung local government area of the state. He has condoled with families that lost their dear ones and appealed to the people to remain calm and resist all forms of provocation.
“Owan Enoh believes this pornography of violence is orchestrated and being stoked by his political opponents in his local government, to give the wrong impression that it was instigated by him. But, everyone knows that Enoh has never been linked to any act of violence ever since his involvement in partisan politics, spanning over two and a half decades. A man of peace, who promotes dialogue as a winning tool in social engineering, he does not believe in the politics of ‘do-or-die’ or the winner takes all,” the statement read in part.
In her reaction, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Cross River State Command, Ms Iren Ugbo, said: “It is true three persons were killed and one injured on February 16. It was as a result of cult clashes and the cult members are both APC and PDP members.
“But, the command has deployed its men to the community, and I can assure you that normalcy has returned.”