The renewed attacks on the people of Ikpanya Clan in Ibiono Ibom local government council of Akwa Ibom State by its neighbours from Arochukwu in Abia state, is alleged to have claimed not less than seven lives.
It would be recalled that this incessant attacks by Igbo community in Abia has been reoccurring especially in this period of farming season.
According to the Clan Head of Ikpanya, Chief Isaac Onosin, while narrating his ordeal to Journalists from where he is taking refuge, said the attack by his neighbours from Igbo in Arochukwu has to do with a parcel of land.
Hear him, “The attack is not unconnected with years of clashes the people of Ikpanya have been having from its Arochukwu neighbours over a parcel of land. The attack has also left six houses burnt, and four persons missing; also inflicted pains on one female member of the community who was ganged raped by the invaders”.
He described the incident as unfortunate as such has created untold hardship on his subjects.
“Ikpanya shares boundaries with eight villages of Arochukwu in Abia state, but, the perennial and incessant crisis is always with one village, that is the Ugbo people. And, it has always been during every farming season, the people of Ugbo will attack our people as they go to farm. They will beat our women and chase them away, packing the palm fruits. These people have continued to trouble our people year in, year out, and then on the 8th of this month, when my people went to cut palm fruits as I lifted ban on cutting of palm.
“They started cutting palm from the 6th, and on the 8th, when my people went to cut palm, the Ugbo people went and beat them, destroyed the palm and burnt them. Three boys and one girl, were arrested and kept in their village square, and I had to call the DPO in Ibiono Ibom local government, telling him what happened”.
According to the Clan Head, similar efforts were made to the DPO of Arochukwu which led to the release of the three persons who were then taken to the DPO in Ibion Ibom, who obtained statements from them, took pictures of the wounds inflicted on them, before he took them for medical attention.
Chief Ononsin accused the authorities of Ibiono Ibom local government area for not committing themselves to the calamity that has befallen the people of Ikpanya.
“I reported the matter to the chairman of the local government area, and he told me they would have a security meeting, after that, he will answer me. He didn’t say anything other than that.
“I have been writing on the government, since the reign of the last clan head, we have been writing to the government to give us a police post, but none”.
He called on the government to come to the aid of victims of the clash by providing them with relief materials.
“As, a father, I need peace, but let government come and build the houses, and see to it that they do something for the families that lost people”.
Meanwhile, the member representing the people of Ibiono Ibom in the state House of Assembly, Mr Godwin Ekpo, in a matter of urgent importance has reported the attack to the state assembly.
In his motion, he lamented the wanton killings and destruction in Ikpanya by neighbouring Ugbo village in Arochwkwu community of Abia state.
“Mr Speaker and Hon. Colleagues, on the 8th day of March 2021 the people of Ugbo village in Arochukwu launch an attack on my constituents in Ikpanya clan and verifiable reports from the Ibiono Ibom Divisional police headquarters indicates that in the past one week since the commencement of their attack, two (2) deaths of Ikpanya citizens have been recorded, four (4) missing persons, six (6) houses burnt and one Alice Memfin Udo was reportedly gang raped by these attackers on her way to collect her harvested palm fruits on her farm.
“It might interest this Honourable House to know that these daring attackers from Ugbo village defy all natural and demarcated borders to the extent of crossing the river using an improvised bridge made by log of woods to Ikpanya clan to harass, intimidate, kill and maim our citizens and lay claims to Ikpanya farmlands.
“They went further to use their dominant power and resources over our people by deploring military personnel from their neighboring Ohafia military base to lay siege on Ikpanya clan”.
The lawmaker in his prayer called on the state emergency management agency to send relief materials to the people of Ikpanya and also called on the state government to deploy relevant security agencies to the area in order to provide security for the people of Ikpanya clan.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Command, speaking through the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Odiko Macdon, said the command was aware of the attack, promising that the matter was under control.
“The police is aware and we are doing everything possible to bring the situation under control. The CP is working to see that the situation doesn’t escalate. The CP has directed that our men be deployed to the area; our men are on ground as we speak. The CP has called for a stakeholders’ meeting on the way forward. We are also looking at a political solution to the crisis.
On the need for a police station to be built in Ikpanya, he said, “The Divisional police station in the area can handle the situation, and we have deployed more men to the area, so, the Divisional Police can handle the situation, but, if the need arises for a police outpost to be sited there, the police authorities would not hesitate to take the necessary steps, but, for now our men there can take care of the situation”.