The Akwa Ibom government has successfully evacuated 34 of her citizens, who were stranded in Katsina State following heightened banditry and insurgency in some parts of the state.
The victims, who arrived the state over the weekend, were received by the commissioner for women affairs and social welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan, on behalf of the state government, at the Women Development Centre in Uyo.
Adiakpan said, “The attention of the state government was drawn to a viral video on social media where some displaced Akwa Ibom indigenes in Katsina, were calling for help, because their houses, shops and other sources of livelihood were either vandalised or burnt by bandits. So the state government immediately ordered their evacuation and safe return to the state”.
According to the commissioner, “The governor has made adequate arrangement for them to be received. Relief materials will also be released to them, and we will then begin to reintegrate all of them with members of their families immediately .”
The president of Akwa Ibom Community in Katsina, andlecturer in the Department of Mathematics, Federal College of Education, Katsina State, Chief Effiom Williams, who recounted the origin of the incident said, “I got a distress call from our members in Batsari, Danja, Dan Musa and other local government areas that their houses, and shops were being attacked, and I quickly mobilised them into safety in my house.
“When some of them arrived, they had nothing left because they had lost everything to the crises, so Akwa Ibom Community had to raise money in order to get them clothes and other effects. We later reached out to the state government for assistance. We are very happy that the governor has intervened,” he said.
A returnee, Elizabeth Emmanuel, who hails from Ikono Local Government Area but resided in Jibia Local Government Areain Katsina, said her shop and home were razed down by the arsonists, who attacked their community at night, killing several people in their sleep.
According to Emmanuel, “We got back home and started hearing loud shooting at night, and we all started running for our dear lives. All I could take out from our house are my children and few clothes. Luckily for us, we were escorted to the IDP camp by soldiers”.
She narrated that they were however, linked to the President of Akwa Ibom Community in Katsina by a fellow Akwa Ibomite in the camp.
She expressed satisfaction with the evacuation process, and thanked the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for the timely intervention.
Another victim, a male and cobbler, who did not mention his name, said his source of livelihood was completely destroyed in the attack.
He added that he was only lucky to have escaped with members of his family to Katsina Metropolis, from where they got information about the intervention of the Community for the affected members.