Scores missing, houses razed in Akwa Ibom, Cross River communal crisis

Scores missing, houses razed in Akwa Ibom, Cross River communal crisis
Charles Nwoke, Calabar, Nigeria
March 23, 2021

Update created on March 22 

Many persons were said to be missing on Tuesday morning and houses burnt down in a renewed boundary clash between the people of Ikot Offing in Odukpani Local Government Area Council of Cross River State and Oku Iboku, in Itu Local Government Area Council of Akwa Ibom State.

The two communities have been at loggerheads over control of a piece of land for the past 30 years, resulting in the loss of lives and properties at both warring sides.

A resident of the area who fled for his life said, “Earlier today, the assailants came loaded in two 75 horsepower speedboats, they engaged in a 25-minute gun battle with the military at the checkpoint.

“The caliber of weapons used by these assailants forced the people to flee for their dear lives, although the military officers were also equipped with machine guns.”

The Akwa Ibom State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, who confirmed the attack, stated that the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, has mandated the Divisional Police Officer in Itu Division DPO, Celestine Ude, to carry out an assessment of the situation and report back to him.

Macdon, who confirmed that some houses were set ablaze, said until the DPO gives first-hand information, the police command would not be able to say what happened.

“We have received a preliminary report about the renewed crisis, no lives reported lost. We are still awaiting a more discreet situational report because the CP, has ordered the DPO of the Itu LGA division to proceed and give him first-hand information about the crisis.

“For now, the situation there is under control, there is no cause for alarm. It’s only when the DPO comes back that we can get a comprehensive report. I hear that some houses were ransacked and some shops were burnt, but we are yet to get more information about what really transpired,” the PPRO stated.