More than three persons are alleged to have been killed while four others abducted in a renewed clash between the people of Usaka Uko in Ikwuano Local government area of Abia State and Nkari in Ini local government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The crisis which has been lingering, occurred early hours of Friday, 22 January, 2021 when some youths suspected to have come from Usaka Uko allegedly ambushed indigenes of Nkari, shot them and cart away their motorcycles.
It would be recalled that, similar incident occurred on August 2020 where about 11 persons were allegedly killed and scores injured on both sides.
Narrating the situation to members of Civil Liberties Organization led by it Chairman, Franlkyn Isong, who visited the area with some newsmen, Major Tony Isenyeng (Rtd), said the community has become helpless over the continuous blood letting fuelled by the crisis.
He called on the National boundary commission to hasten up in giving a clear demarcation of the boundary, adding that, security should be permanently mounted on the area to forestall further crisis.
According to a former councillor in Nkari ward 4, Mr Benjamin Christopher Akpan, “last Friday which was our market day, the attackers lay ambush and killed our people. They killed my younger brother, even the other of my relative with her husband, we found their corpses this morning. I’m sure they both went to the early market
“Four persons whom were said to have passed the road could not be found as I’m speaking with you now. Ma be they were abducted because we have not seen them. The issue is beyond our community, how can we be living in perpetual fear in our father’s land?
“The only market we have that sells once in a week was attacked, we are not sure if the market will open this week, and if it doesn’t how can we sustain our mothers and our children. We have become endangered species.”
Also, the member representing Ini State Constituency, Mr. Emmanuel Bassey, described the crisis as a guerrilla warfare because, according to him, the attacking youths would lay ambush and shot anyone who crossed the road.
He called for full security presence in the area even as the Federal government was expected to mandate the NBC to urgently do the demarcation of the boundary.
On his efforts so far on the matter, he said, “in my first and second term in the State House of Assembly, I’ve moved a motion of urgent public importance on the need to rescue the people of Nkari. I told the floor on October last year that if the crisis was not addressed it would worsen and deteriorate to the extent that we won’t be able to manage it.
“One of my prayers was that the NBC should come and finish the work they started about seven years ago. What that place needed was a complete demarcation. We wrote to the boundary commission; we wrote to the office of the Deputy governor which caused us to have a meeting last year in Abia State where all the relevant stakeholders from both States were present. The boundary commission agreed to come back later December to do the demarcation and bring a lasting peace.
“Unfortunately, January is ending and they didn’t come back as promised, let Federal or State governments take over the place and build industries that would be of benefit to both Abia and Akwa Ibom States. In so doing, the problem would be resolved automatically.”
On his part, the Clan Head of Nkari clan, His Highness Udoette Edon, has called on the state government to construct the Mbiabong/Nkari road in order to link Nkari people to their kith and kins in Akwa Ibom State, noting that, lack of motorable road contributes to the attacks the Nkari people are facing from the people of Usaka Uko.
The monarch called on the State and federal government to come to the aid of the people of Nkari by providing them electricity, potable water, primary and secondary school, healthcare facilities. He urged the state and federal government to take over the disputed farmland and use same for investment that will be beneficial to the people.
Also speaking, the leader of Nkari Community, Obong Bassey Inuaeyen narrated how a boy that takes care of his aged father was killed on Friday crisis.
He said, “as I speak, I’m in pains, I’m mourning the death of innocent young men and women who went their way on that road only for them to be ambushed and killed. About seven of them have been killed including the boy that lived with me, he was the one that was taking care of my old father in the compound. This crisis has been on, it didn’t start today.”
He called on the State government to ensure permanent security presence in Nkari community until the NBC resolve the boundary dispute. He assured Nkari people that the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel will construct the Nkari road as he promised Nkari people during his mother’s funeral in 2017.
Speaking on the issue, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Odiko Macdon, confirmed the crisis, saying that, normalcy has returned to the area through the efforts of the police Commissioners in both states.
He however noted that, he would not confirm of any death as his men never saw corpse in the area.
“I’m speaking from official channel, I can’t confirm any death because we didn’t see any dead body anywhere, but there was a crisis at Nkari and the situation is calm now by the efforts of the Commissioner of police and stakeholders from both States”, he said.