From Idongesit Inyang
The Nko community in Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River has described as welcoming, the decision of the state government to take over the parcel of land that has always brought conflict between it and Onyedama community.
While addressing journalists in Calabar, the Cross River capital, recently, the community had asked the state government to take adequate possession of the said land by using it effectively so that further crisis may not arise.
“Both Nko and Oyadama communities have been at war over a piece of land leading to loss of lives and property over the years. At the moment, the ownership of the disputed land has been revoked and taken over by the state government for overriding public interest.”
A statement by the deputy chief press secretary to thegovernor, Mr Linus Obogo, had stated that the state government had no option than to seize the parcel of land which had exposed the communities to the avoidable crisis.
The statement also states that two monarchs and other traditional rulers in the two communities were dethroned and decertified as a result of the intractable communal clashes.
The leader of Nko community, Dr. Akpama Akpama, on behalf of his people, said the displaced and homeless people of Nko community appreciated government’s benevolence and sense of love.
He, however, requested the Nigeria public to show empathy by providing welfare for the displaced homeless people.
Akpama also called on international organizations, human right activists, NGOs, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, NEMA, SEMA and other bodies, to come to their aid. He said, “While we appreciate the early intervention of the state government and security agencies, particularly, the Nigeria Army on the conflict between our community and Onyedama community, we disagree with the way the crisis is being managed by the Army. Their approach is unethical and unprofessional.
“We support every responsible and meaningful effort towards maintaining lasting peace in the area. We call on the state government and the military authority to stop the raid in Nko community.
“The security situation in Nko community has remained tensed and fragile. For more than five days running, many people have been killed through shooting at sight and a lot more wounded. Properties that cannot be quantified at the moment have been destroyed,” he said.
According to him, “The military personnel have wreaked havoc on the local populace, killing helpless persons, arresting some and introduced a reign of terror in the area. Women and children have abdicated their homes to take refuge in unknown locations, suffering the harsh effects of the associated weather with the rainy season.”
Akpama disclosed that students in four secondary schools in Nko community involved in NECO examination, nationwide, could not go to school nor write the examinations.
Meantime, several people including politicians from the two communities and outside as well as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) have condemned the conflict in the two communities and have also asked the Nigerian Army to vacate the community of Nko while lauding the state government for the intervention.