From: Joe Effiong, Uyo
New set of IDP camps have been created in Akwa Ibom following the bombardment of Essien Ediim LGA by a combined team of soldiers and other security agents.
The bombardmen, according to Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, Director Army Public Relations,
was intended to flush out hoodlums and miscreants who had resorted to exploiting the hitherto peaceful communities to acquire weapons to perpetrate their heinous crimes, including killing of security agents.
Consequently, the military operation which lasted for several hours, has now created fresh social problems as those affected by the bombardment are now taking refuge in churches and an community centres.
The chairman of Essien Udim LGA, Anthony Luke as said , the military operations had also sent shivers through the spines of the people, who for fear of being caught up in the cross-fires, have become displaced too.
“About nine communities have been seriously affected while three are partially affected by the security situation. They include Ntak Ikot Akpan, Ukana Uwa, Ikot Udo Ekpat, Ikot Otu, Ikot Afangna, Nto Nsek, Ikot Abia, Ikot Ankan, Ikot Ukpong Etor, Ikot Ada Utor, Nsasak, and Ikot Akpan Essiet. The displaced persons from those villages are camped at St Ann Cathedral, Ikot Ekpene, Civic Centre Atan, Ikot Okoro and St Brigid Parish, Urua Akpan.
“I have visited our displaced persons to encourage them, give them hope and assure them that they will be we catered for. Even as a sympathise with them over what has befallen them, especially in this planting season – as our people are predominantly farmers, is very unfortunate, let me use this medium to express my deepest gratitude to the Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Dr. Camillus Umoh for his magnanimity.
“The Bishop has not only graciously offered accommodation in the Catholic Cathedrals for the internally displaced persons, but has also promised to partner the Council in taking care of the people until it is safe for them to return home.
The chairman said the Council and the state government were working assiduously to ensure that normalcy returns so that the displaced person could be back to their homes soon even as they remain resolute and committed to the fight against criminality in the area, and would stop at nothing until Essien Udim becomes safe for everyone.
He appealed to the youths to shun violence and all form of antisocial activities and channel their energies into worthwhile productive ventures.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Dr Camillus R Umoh has lauded the Essien Udim Council boss, Anthony Luke for caring for the IDPs occasioned by the security situation in the area.
The Bishop who said this at St Ann Cathedral Ifuho, Ikot Ekpene while addressing persons displaced from Ikot Akpan, Uwa, Ikot Afangna and other villages affected by the security breach challenge in Essien Udim, however lamented the collapse in the security systems in the country and posited that if nothing is done Nigeria might face Somalian situation.
While calling on the state and federal governments to live up to their responsibilities by ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians, the Catholic Bishop described the recent security situation where security men were killed as unfortunate and pathetic.