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Akwa Ibom Land Dispute: One Killed, Four Abducted

Akwa Ibom Land Dispute: One Killed, Four Abducted

One person was reportedly killed, three have been hospitalised in state of coma, while four others have been abducted when the people suspected to be indigenes of Iman and Ikot Okwo villages of Ikot Abasi local government area reportedly attacked the neighbouring village, Ikot Ekpang in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The state government has already deployed armed policemen to the trouble villages, following reports that the people of Ikot Ekpang village were allegedly planning reprisal.

Sources say trouble started when the people of Ikot Ekpang village objected to plans by the Paramount Ruler of Ikot Abasi local government area of the state, His Royal Majesty Edidem Udo J. Ntukobom to deny them payment of compensation over the 330KVA transmission line running from QIT to Ikot Abasi which passes through Ikot Ekpang village. To forestall the crisis, checks reveal, the people of Ikot Ekpang village had on January 3 and 8 protested to the Deputy Governor of the state, Lady Valerie Ebe and the Executive Chairman of Mkpat Enin local government area, Mr. Ephraim Akpan, respectively.

In the petition letter signed by 22 chiefs, elders and prominent indigenes, the Ikot Ekpang village had called on the state government to wade into the matter before it degenerated into another thing.

The people had alleged injustice, intimidation, victimisation, threat to life and illegal tampering with inter local government boundary by the people of Iman hinting on a likely quiet blood bath the area over invasion and annexation of their land.

"On January 7, 2013, the people of Ikot Okwo manhandled, abducted, beaten up one Mrs. Rose Udo Timothy and inflicted serious wounds on her while harvesting cassava in her farmland, while on January 9, 2013, the people of Iman invaded even beyond the area in dispute", the Ikot Ekpang village complained.

According to the protest letter to the state government, a copy made available to Thisday, the Ikot Ekpang village complained that at a meeting convened November 6, 2012 by the Paramount Ruler of Ikot Abasi, they were asked to be excluded among the beneficiaries of the said N.I.P.P project. The monarch was said to have boasted that "he would use his position as the Chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council and his ‘closeness’ to His Excellency, the Governor, to make sure that we (Ikot Ekpang People) go to no way."

The protest letter which was signed by chiefs, elders and prominent indigenes of Ikot Ekpang village said the people were worried by some unguarded statements credited to elders of Iman village that "the people of Iman village have sharpened their knives to deal with Ikot Ekpang people."

The people of Iman village were said to have equally boosted that "anybody from the Ikot Ekpang who dare enter the said land on the valuation visitation day by N.I.P.P Consultant must be killed."

The letter which was also copied relevant government agencies including Security agencies regretted the latest action by the Paramount to shift the boundary of the affected villages against where it was fixed by the inter-local government boundary committee since 1993.

As direct beneficiary of the N.I.P.P project and peace loving people, the Ikot Ekpang people appealed to Governor Godswill Akpabio, to Step in as a matter of very urgency to save the situation from impending crises.

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