As poverty continues to take its harsh toll on the major oil rich State of the Niger Delta in Nigeria – Akwa Ibom State, some bizarre killings are going on unabated, albeit, unheard. The recent is the decapitation of the head of a man by name Udo Jimmy (AKA Ete-Isang) in a small village called Ikot Odion in Eket Local Government area of Akwa Akwa Ibom State.
Ete-Isang, as he was fondly called left his house in the evening of Monday to scout for straws to feed his goat did not return back even after night-fall. Worried by this strange development, the children quickly reported the matter to the newly elected VillageHead, Chief Ekomobong Peter Assam who wasted no time as he summoned an emergency town hall meeting of all the villagers to discuss the matter.
A search party was immediately dispatched to comb the bushes in the direction where he was said to have been seen earlier in the day. His lifeless body was found just less than half a mile from his backyard along the road leading to a nearby stream called Odu Iyak.
The Divisional Police office of Eket, Mr Idowu Owohunwa was intimated where he immediately visited the scene alongside some of his men for proper investigation. No arrest was, however, made as no strong suspect was identified by the villagers the in course of police preliminary investigation.
But a young lady in her early thirties simply known as Edikan, who spoke to this reporter, said she saw a strange young man along the road of the bush stream while going to fetch water to cook food for her children and met a young man who easily got angry with her and questioned her why she was staring at him so intently, then treathed to beat her if she continued staring at him. She said though she did not know him but could recognize him if she saw him again.
A community leader, here, Mr Akpe Isang, while reacting to the incident said he believed that it was the hash way which poverty has significantly ravaged the state thereby compelling young men to ttake to toritual killings by beheading people to make quick money.
“There is no doubt in my mind that poverty is the cause of this incessant beheading and ritual killing going on in Akwa Ibom State. This is the area where Akwa Ibom government has failed woefully in addressing.”
But in contrast to this, a second school of thought blamed the killing of this septuagenarian on witchcraft. One of the community spokespersons who spoke on account of anonymity said Mr Jimmy returned from Calabar three years ago after the death of his eldest son and settled at home. Witchcraft was widely believed to be the cause of his son’s death.
“He returned from Calabar about three years ago after the death of his son. His son’s death really shocked many of us. I think people actually thought then this was caused by supernatural forces. So I really suspect some men who nurture this belief could be responsible to his death.’’
Killing like this has been going on for some time now in different parts of Akwa Ibom State which may not have anyconnectivity with politics as they mostly involved people from the local community which have no business whatsover with politics. In Oron area, fior instance, about seven people were beheaded just last month alone in different villages. However, what may be the cause of this very death, still remains a mystery.
But it will be recalled that in 2001, more than eleven people including children believed to be witches and wizards were tortured and killed in this village alone and buried in an unknown mass grave.