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AKPABIO A DESTABILISING AGENT: Akwa Ibom APC Elders Warn Buhari Against Nominating Godswill Akpabio Minister

27 May

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Elders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State have warned President Muhammadu Buhari against shortlisting Senator Godswill Akpabio for ministerial appointment.

The president will take another oath of office at his inauguration on Wednesday, May 29 for his second term of four years.

Consequently, the group, Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative, in a letter to the president, said an appointment for Akpabio would be an open invitation to the crisis in the state.

The letter entitled, ‘Ministerial Appointment: Why Appointing Akpabio Maybe Counter Productive’, was signed by the Executive Vice President of the group, Dr. Asuquo Edidem Etim, and copied to the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, the secretary to the government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and the chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari.

The letter tagged Akpabio as a “destabilising agent”.

Akpabio, who is a former governor of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), only defected to the ruling APC shortly before the 2019 general election in which he contested to return to the Senate but lost.

The group stated that the “same Senator Akpabio that in years past had been yours and our party’s nemesis cannot suddenly become the gadfly of your political generosity”.

According to them, “Akwa Ibom State boasts of men of immense integrity who can fit into the ministerial positions to help realise the Next Level agenda of the APC government”.

Part of the letter reads: “Mr President, this second mandate affords you the opportunity to select your ministers in a manner that will ensure that they do not become liabilities to your government or dent your impeccable image.

“Characters with known corruption allegations or propensity for pettiness, mischief, treachery, profligacy and vendetta, should be avoided. Senator Godswill Akpabio, unfortunately, is one of such integrity deficient individuals.

“Akpabio is a destabilising agent. The poor showing of APC in Akwa Ibom State in the last general election was to a large extent as a result of the destabilising and authoritarian tendencies of Senator Akpabio, who only believes that it’s either his way or nobody’s.

“Many had thought that his joining APC would bring cool breeze of good fortunes to the party in the state, but rather his highhanded nature and disrespect for internal democracy in the party and the will of the people to choose their leaders, became a raging storm that uprooted the recognised structures of the party right from the grassroots, as he imposed party leaders from the wards and even unit levels. Leaving many party men and women very bruised, trampled and disgruntled. This sadly affected the chances of our governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere”, the group alleged.

While noting that Akwa Ibom has many “respectable, level-headed” personalities that would represent the state with grace at the federal executive, the elders also pointed out the enviable qualities of party leaders such as the outgoing Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, noting that “he’s done creditably in the past four years”.

The group added: “In terms of loyalty to the party and contributions to its development in the state, we have party men, including Chief Umana Umana and Senator John Udoedehe, among others, who had toiled to keep the party afloat over time in the state.”

It continued: “Akpabio’s uncommon profligacy in public office as governor in Akwa Ibom State is well known in political circles.

“We plead with you, Mr. President, to save our dear state Akwa Ibom from a potential ugly scenario, similar to that of Rivers State, between Gov. Wike and Amaechi, that has turned the state into a battlefield of blood and destruction, fuelled by ego and avoidable rivalry, especially, as the drumbeat of supremacy war and vendetta is already being fine-tuned, with claim of a ‘federal powerhouse in waiting’, by his gang. His propensity for violence is well documented in the state.

“Watch the video clips of all the names he called you just few years back in the name of a political campaign as governor. Find out who drove your party, our party into the bush throughout his days as governor, fanned by his dictatorial mien and intolerance disposition towards the opposition.

“Be guided by the fact that our poor outing in the first free and fair elections ever conducted in Akwa Ibom State, the 2019 general elections, was the aftermath of overwhelming state-wide revolt against Akpabio and what he represents.”

The group described the senator’s defection to the ruling party as “unfortunate” and “treacherous”, adding that the former Senate minority leader “sneaked into our party to achieve a long-held dream of stopping an APC victory in the state.”

It pointed out that Akpabio had only recently and boldly told global television viewers that he “did not decamp from PDP but moved”.

“A chameleon does not ever hide its colours, Mr. President,” the group warned.Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoor

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An Ode to Nwanakwo: a boy bathed with acid by the father

31 Mar

By Sam Itauma

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Absolutely shocking! Distasteful, traumatizing and unbelievable! Can this be another April fool? No, it is not. The news is indeed true: Nwanakwo is DEAD! This was the state that beclouded the Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) Centre when the news of the death of a 9-year-old Nwanakwo Udo Edet from Ikono LGA who was receiving treatment at University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) filtered in; having been bathed with acid by his father.

Pitiful! Poor, innocent Nwanakwo was taken to the UUTH in July this year from the General Hospital Ikono when his medical situation deteriorated. His sin was the acceptance to an invitation to attend a prayer meeting with a church in Urban, near Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria, according to the child. “When I arrived at the church, people were clapping and dancing. I prayed to God to bless me and our family including my father. As soon as the pastor came, he started turning around, holding my head ‘Do you know that you are a witch?’ he asked me. I told him no, I am not a witch…” ‘He told me that I must confess or he will beat me, and even as he slapped me immediately. He handed over a bottle of olive oil to me to be drinking at home. I was annoyed and went and told my father so that he will arrest the pastor with the police.

To his chagrin, his father merely told him that if he were a witch he would be cast out of the house. That was an understatement. After four days his father told him that they would travel home to see their relatives. The little lad was so elated by this offer. Did Nwanakwo and his father come back truly?

Nwanakwo told CRARN team who visited him at the UUTH in August that his father called a cyclist and whispered to him. They mounted on the bike and moved to a particular road that was bushy up to a distance where there were no houses and stopped there. His father took him inside the bush and pretended as if he wanted to ease himself, while the cyclist waited. “He brought out a gallon from a sack bag and forced me on the ground, pressing my legs with his knees, he forced my mouth opened and poured acid into it. I cried and pleaded with him that I am his son; he shouted and called me a wizard and devil. He poured the acid on my face, head and body and ran away. Somebody came and took me to the police.” He said with a clear voice as is using a wireless microphone.

Looking at Nwanakwo’s photograph, the acid burns are very glaring and terrifying. The boy, who lost his mother four years ago, said he wanted justice to prevail. “Even in my grave, I want my father and Pastor King of Mouth Zion Light House, Urban to be arrested and brought to book.” The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UUTH, Prof. Emmanuel Ekanem was contacted to know what measure has been taken to ensure that justice is done. “The Head of the Corporate Affairs Unit (UUTH) has contacted the Divisional Police Officer of Ikono LGA who said that his men have been drafted to investigate the matter …” the CMD had responded briefly.

This brutish act was committed in January this year, precisely eight months ago, and Nwanakwo died about four days ago. As at the time of writing this piece, there was no news as to the arrest of Nwanakwo’s father or Pastor King. Will justice ever be done?

Nwanakwo represents the thousands of children in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta, Abia, Rivers States, etc., who have suffered similar fate; either by being set on fire, thrown into the river to serve as delicious meal to the fish, buried alive, poisoned to death, slaughtered, hacked to death, pierced hot pokers into the anus, stoned to death, incarcerated and manacled in churches or prayer houses, sold to child traffickers or ritual syndicates, enslaved in brothels, strangled to death, starved, neglected, hung or tied suspended with head downward to die by piece-meal and or bathed with acid.

The rebranding of Nigeria is a project I so endeared and so I can die for it. But the rebranding has to start from the first rung of the ladder. The first rung is children. The visit by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio to children at CRARN Centre where over 200 stigmatized or witch-branded are rehabilitated children is an inroad to this concept of rebranding. Therefore, all the undoing committed against these children must be addressed and redressed. The Childs Right Law should not be allowed to be sleeping in the archives and libraries unattended to (the Child’s Right Act passed into law in 5th December 2008). Its spirit should be evoked and allowed to hound the phoney pastors, fake evangelists, apostles and prophets. The Child Witch Inventors should not be allowed to continue in their hoodwinking business using the name of God and garnering criminal awe and reverence while children continue to suffer and die; the image of Christianity and Nigeria remain in the mud They must face justice. There should be no sacred cow. This, to me, is rebranding! Rebranding should be an egg we cannot trifle with if sincerity is anything to go by. Parents who give themselves up to be brainwashed by the renegade men of God thereby unleashing all sorts of terror on their children should be made to face the full weight of the law. To say that the rate of child-witch branding with its attendant consequences on children is alarming is making an understatement.
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This is not enough; there must be a Special Implementation Committee saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the activities of churches in liaison with the police in ensuring the prosecution of child’s right violators in the truest spirit of the law. But I am confident that where the conventional law takes some doses of sedatives and remain drowsy, fidgeting or opt not to wake up at all, the natural justice will brace the storm and fish out the untouchable and the sacred cows. ‘Be not deceived, God is not mocked…’

You will agree with me that I have digressed a lot. So I hereby plead for amnesty. Yes, Nwanakwo, in the spirit of rebranding should be immortalized! This will awaken the consciousness in our psyche that children, the world over, deserve special attention; not assault and battery, not machetes cut, not hot iron-branding, not hot water-bathing, not even violent exorcism, but love, good food, education and good health. And that no one should be religiously irreligious as this sometimes leads to ‘insanity’ thereby giving the urge to harm others, especially vulnerable children.
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Nwana, my sole-friend, your death reminds me of the 9 year old Mary Effiong of Oruko, Oron axis who was slaughtered in a broad daylight in 2007 by his beloved daddy because an apostle of God ‘revealed’ to him that his frequent arrest by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency-NAFDAC for trading in Indian hemp and hashes, was the handiwork of his daughter who was a witch. He was arrested, but pressure from the elite and the community made him walk the street like Fidel Castro of Cuba while in office. Justice was not served! So for Nwanakwo, will justice ever be done?

Sam Ikpe Itauma is the President, Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. (First Published August 2009)

2023: APC SHOULD BE GUIDED BY HISTORY (There can never be politics without history) #PoliticsOfMurdering

24 Mar
Dost thou still bemoan thy fall
And think thy weary self undone?
Think again, O mortal man,
And know that since this world began
Men and stars have fallen low
And living things have ceased to grow
– DENNIS OSADEBAY
 
The year, 2023, is still far, and the politics of that year is still in the embryo, why then should one start beating the drum now? For the first time in my life I have to align with the thought of the Akwa Ibom State PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo who recently issued a statement against the commencement of 2023 campaign by some politicians when the 2019 dispensation is yet to be inaugurated.
 
But then, the Ibibio people say, “NDUNÓÑÑÓ ITEM EFERE ÓFÓN KE OWO MM’ISINNE IKPAÑ”. I would not dare say what I’m going to say here if I’ve not learnt from history, and if I am not bent on seeing that majority of our people, especially those I happen to share a party platform with, benefit from the lessons of history. I have always said, and I am still of the opinion, that POLITICS CANNOT BE PLAYED WELL WITHOUT HISTORY. For example, if a party repeats the mistakes it did in 2019 in 2023 failure is her other name because no miracle can give her victory.
 
I wish APC well, hence I must say this: 8 years ago, the founders and founding members of the “Broom Party” in Akwa Ibom State were ambushed at Ikot Ekpene after series of threats were issued by the likes of Chief Sunny Ibanga (who circumstances and or Providence has brought into the very party he was against). Some of us were killed; some were wounded. Yours truly had to run from Ikot Ekpene to Uyo. In fact, how I did it I can’t recall, but I remember vividly that the bus I boarded was razed to ashes. I witnessed how people were killed. Majority of those who planned and executed the inhuman act are now in the APC, including the beneficiaries of the act. Chief Godswill Akpabio was the beneficiary in chief!
 
The doyen of Nigerian history, Professor Obaro Ikime, in his latest book, titled: “CAN ANYTHING GOOD COME OUT OF HISTORY?”, published in 2018, says “… the historian does not ply this profession in vacuo. He or she does not write for writing sake! He or she writes knowing that what he or she writes is of value to his or her nation….” He goes on to say that “the value of History is, in a sense, eternal. The issues which the historian decides to concentrate on are thrown up by the challenges which confront the society in which he or she lives….” The history I want my party to rely on as we are coasting to 2023 is the mayhem of March 22, 2011, where those in Akwa Ibom State Government then wanted to kill the progressives in their bid to crush opposition in the State. Blood was the feature of Akwa Ibom State and her politics. Kidnapping and assassination were the only HEADLINE NEWS from and or in Akwa Ibom State. From 2007, the Governor then, through the promptings of some so-called men of God who admonished that “a king must kill to maintain his throne”, was akin to Idi Amin of Uganda. There was no peace in Akwa Ibom State. I was always in hiding. Even some of my supposed colleagues did not know me because I needed to disguise to fight that war in the way I can.
 
Should our party, the APC forget this history? Why should they forget that Senator John Udoedehe was almost killed in Ikot Ekpene? Why should they forget that Mrs. Justina Udoedehe was almost killed in her Ikot Inyang hometown in Ikot Ekpene? Should they forget Group Captain Sampson Ewang who was humiliated by some of those who recently swarmed into the party? How can they forget that Mandators (Victor Essiet) almost lost his life for this same cause? In fact, it is still a shock to me because his car was attacked and destroyed by thugs… Don’t they know that a lot of people are in the grave prematurely because of this party? This brazen fight against history in our party, or this pretence to forget history in a hurry, is the reason we keep moving around, and or within, a circle – And we may continue to do so if the Nannies’ meal is again given to the dogs in 2023. The people are watching… They are not fools!
 
At this point, may I use this medium to pray that the soul of those killed in Ikot Ekpene on March 22, 2011, for daring to campaign to free this State from bondage and political ineptitude rest in peace! And may the souls of those killed in Ibiono Ibom, too, two days before that of Ikot Ekpene, also rest in peace. May those killed in that inglorious era rest in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ… Amen!Image may contain: 2 people, people sittingImage may contain: 1 person, sunglasses, hat and outdoorImage may contain: 1 person, outdoorImage may contain: one or more people and people standing

Police Arrest Man Who Poisoned His 3 Sons With Sniper Because He Suspected Them Of Witch Craft.

21 Jan
Police Arrest Man Who Poisoned His 3 Sons With Sniper Because He Suspected Them Of Witch Craft.

The Nigeria police at Bayelsa command has arrested a 42-year-old father of three, Sunday Otasi, for allegedly killing his two sons with a poisonous substance known as ‘Sniper’ over his suspicion of witchcraft.One of the sons, however, cheated death though he is in critical condition after he escaped from the bush where his father and uncle had tied them to a tree.

The man, who hails from Agbobiri-Okodia in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa, reportedly took his three sons, Success Otasi, aged 14; Miracle Otasi, aged 12; and Godstime Otasi, aged 10, to a bush along Glory Drive Road at Igbogene in Yenagoa, where he tied them to a tree with the help of his younger brother, Levai Ayah and forced them to drink the killer substance.

It was gathered that the three children ran into troubled waters sometimes in September last year when Prophet George Odoko of George Odoko Outreach Ministries told their father that his children were wizards and responsible for his illness.

Since then, the three children were reportedly subjected to different kinds of torture by the man and his relatives, who believed that their mother who was no longer in marriage with their father had bewitched them. Otasi, who denied killing his sons, told newsmen that he only brought the children to Yenagoa on December 29, to be delivered at Prophet Odoko’s church but could not get the deliverance done because the prophet couldn’t attend to them.

He added that he decided to give the three children to his younger brother, Levi to return them to his mother in the village. “I don’t know what my brother did to my children on the way back to the village.”
But the surviving son and the eldest, Success, who miraculously survived the poisonous liquid revealed that his father and his younger brother, now at large, took them to the bush and gave them sniper to drink.

The boy who spoke to newsmen at a hospital in Yenagoa where he is receiving treatment said his father told them that they were going to a church service in Yenagoa but diverted them to a bush where they were tied and given sniper to drink.

My father came to take us from our grandmother and told us that we were going to a church in Yenagoa but when we reached the road, he and his brother took us to the bush and tied me and my younger brothers and gave us sniper to drink. I managed to come to the road after I used my legs to remove the rope and people saw me and took me to the hospital.”

Confirming the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aminu Selah, said the suspect has made confessional statements while the police were on the chase of the fleeing accomplice. The police boss called on parents to show love to their children and wards, urging members of the public to avoid jungle justice of any kind.

Police Arrest Man Who Poisoned His 3 Sons With Sniper Because He Suspected Them Of Witch Craft.

Witch Killing: Pastor Speaks After Being Fingered In The Poisoning Of 3 Children.

21 Jan

The founder of George Odoko World Outreach Ministry, Apostle George Odoko, has denied making a prophecy that led to the maltreatment and poisoning of three children by their father, Sunday Otasi. Otasi is being detained at the police command in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, for poisoning his three sons by forcing them to drink sniper.

Otasi, 42, who hails from Agbobiri-Okodia in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state, took his three sons, Success Otasi, 14; Miracle Otasi 12 and Godstime Otasi, 10, to a bush along Glory Drive Road at Igbogene in Yenagoa.

The suspect was said to have tied his children in the bush with the help of his younger brother, one Levai Ayah and forced the killer substance down their throats.

While Godstime and Miracle died, the eldest son, Success, was rushed to the hospital where he is battling for his life.

Otasi claimed that a Yenagoa-based prophet, Goerge Odoko of George Odoko Outreach Ministries told him that his children were wizards and asked him to bring them for deliverance.

But Odoko, in a statement, denied there was no time he gave such prophecy describing the claims of the killer father as mischievous, misleading and devilish.

He said: “First let us express our deepest condolences to the departed souls and commiserate with their family. Truth is irrepressible. “No amount of blackmail can destroy it. Neither can it be submerged by the syndicated falsehood.

“We want to state it categorically that it is another campaign of calumny against the person of Apostle George Odoko and Ministry. “There was never at any time I met with the said person and gave the prophecy in question.

“It is nothing but deliberate mischief to rubbish my person and ministry.

“God’s mission and mandate have no falsehood and I have no hand in the prophecy and I am condemning the dastardly act and heinous crime in strong term as reported in some sections of the media.

“We call on the members of George Odoko World Outreach Ministry to remain steadfast because God has given us victory over our enemies”

Why Argentina Is One Of The Worst #RacistNations

21 Jun

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#ArgentinaWorstRacistNation

As I watched the Argentina and Iceland match today and wondered why there were no black players in the Argentinean team when other South American teams had black or biracial players, I remembered a conversation I had last year.

It was while I was on a cruise from Florida to the Grand Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

Between an Argentinean doctor and myself, who had walked up to me during lunch one day and struck up a conversation with me.

There was no hiding the attraction.

We had bonded much to the chagrin of her three Argentinean friends.

On the deck of the ship that day, she kept going on about how she loves black men and looks forward to traveling so she can meet them.

I asked her.Image may contain: 1 person

“Don’t you have black people in Argentina?”

She said with a matter of fact candour.

“No. Long time ago, after slavery, we killed them all.”

I was taken aback.

She smiled.

And continued.

“Very bad. I am ashamed of my people. It was very systematic though. Very well thought out. First they forced most of the men to fight for Argentina against Paraguay. They knowingly sent them into battles that were poorly planned so that the Paraguay army will do for them what they couldn’t themselves do. Kill the blacks. Most of them died there. The remaining of them they forced to live in this province were there was a plague. A disease that the government refused to curb so that it can also do for them what they couldn’t do. Kill the blacks. The refused to set up hospitals, clinics, adequate shelter, food outlets, nothing. They created the best environment for the disease to thrive. It killed the rest of the men that had survived the war. The darker you are, the higher the chance they will send you to that place to live or to the war to die. The lighter skinned women they forced them to sleep with the white men, so that their children are biracial, then they forced the children when they grew older to sleep with white men, so that the blackness of the skin of the children became whiter and whiter until there was no longer any visibly black people seen. It was so bad that blacks fled to Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and even Paraquay where they were better treated even though not as well as they should be treated as human beings deserving full equality. Atleast those ones did not want to kill them and accepted to give them protection and a means of livelihood. As a matter of fact in Chile, there was a city called Arica where Black people were so accepted and respected that in the 1700s two black free man, one called Anzuréz were elected mayors. But the white colonial masters from Spain came six months later and nullified the elections, they were afraid of other cities giving black people too many rights. But the blacks who had found succour did not complain, they sent word for others to flee Argentina and come join them. Afterall what was cancelled elections compared to certain death?”

Then she went silent as though trying to replay the magnitude of the crime in her mind again. Then she said it in a sombre tone in order to drive it home to me.

“The ones the Argentineans did not kill through war or disease, and rape and impregnate, fled the country and ultimately we got rid of the blacks.”

I listened in rising sorrow.

She continued academically.

“So although they abolished slavery in 1815 in Argentina, it continued until 1853, after that the main preoccupation of the leaders was how to get rid of the black slaves and their descendants. Our president who ruled us from 1868 to 1874, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, wrote in his diary in 1848, this was long before he became president and slavery ended that – ‘In the United States… 4 million are black, and within 20 years will be 8 million…. What is to be done with such blacks, hated by the white race?’ – It shows that he was already thinking of how to eliminate black people before he became President and when he became President, he succeeded.”

“Didn’t the world say anything?”

“No. They ignored it. I am sure most of them wanted to do the same thing but failed. At that time, they admired them. I remember when I will go to Brazil as a child, my father’s friend will say in disgust as he looked at the black Brazilians – we should have had your guts and finished them off. All of them. Make Brazil white just like Argentina.”

“And the Europeans?”

She laughed.

“It is an open secret, just like King Leopold and his genocide in Congo. No one talks about it, but they know about it. Atleast the older ones do. The younger ones not so much. Why do you think all the Nazis ran to Argentina after World War 2?”

I was silent.

She continued.

“Because it was the perfect place for the most evil racists in history to live.”

Then she looked out to the infinitely blue sea around the ship and sighed audibly before she continued.

” Sadly, to some extent, it still is welcoming and accomodating of racial hatred. We took the Tango from the African slaves and made it our own. In Argentina, not one person will tell you the true history of that dance. They don’t want to associate it with Africa. In fact if you ask them about black people in Argentina they will tell you that there has never been black people in Argentina. They teach them in schools. They rewrite the history. They make it all white. And as I said it is all underneath the surface. They never come out and say we hate black people. Argentina is only for whites or anything like that. They have just fixed the country to only be for white people.”

I looked at her friends, Argentineans like her, who were lounging on the chairs on the deck, clad in their tiny bikinis, drinking pina coladas and smiling.

She followed my gaze and then turned to me.

“Don’t be fooled by all those smiles, scratch the surface and you will see that all they want is for you to disappear.”

http://m.reunionblackfamily.com/site/mobile…

I watched the Argentina and Iceland match today and wondered why there were no black players in the Argentinean team when other South American teams had black or biracial players, I remembered a conversation I had last year.

Senator Godswill Akpabio’s Local Government under siege as ‘Akwa Marine cult group’ attacks many

10 May

I really sympathized with pensioners - Akwa Ibom Former Governor, Senator Akpabio - thekillerpunch news

Dozens of residents have fled a community in Akwa Ibom after repeated attacks by a suspected cult group, locals and security officials say.

Residents of Midim Atan village in Essien Udim local government area of the state said at least two people have so far been killed and many more injured in attacks by a group known as Akwa Marine.

“Akwa Marine led by Emmanuel Ben has been disturbing our community for many years. The problem is not just the cultists but the people sponsoring them and that is why it has been difficult to clamp them down,” said a local chief, Efene Jeremiah.

The unrest has lasted years, and police have made limited success against the group despite an investigation by a team set up by the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to probe its activities.

The divisional police officer for Essien Udim, Alhassan Guda, said he was new at the post and could not comment on the activities of the gang.

But the spokesperson for the police’s Criminal Investigation Department, Chike Nwabuwa, told this newspaper that an investigation team had long been set up by Mr. Arase, to monitor and investigate the activities of the gang following several complaints. He declined to disclose the findings of the panel.

The Investigating Police Officer in charge of the case, Abdul Mohammed, did not also disclose the findings when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES.

Many residents say the group has been emboldened by police inaction.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which also received multiple petitions on the matter, also said police had not responded to its request for details of the attacks.

The civil rights department of the ministry told PREMIUM TIMES that the ministry had written to the Police IG’s office regarding the case, but had received no response for months.

READ  [#AkwaIbom] CHEERLEADERS NIGERIA GETS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION.

Security officials and locals, many of whom had fled the community, blame the lack of aggressive police response on links between the group and powerful politicians from the area.

They say the group was set up ahead of the 2011 elections to go after perceived opponents of top politicians from the area, including former Governor Godswill Akpabio, whom they accuse of providing support for the group.

Mr. Akpabio denies the allegation. His spokesperson, Anietie Ekong, told PREMIUM TIMES the former governor, who is now the Senate minority leader, would not sponsor a criminal gang.

“It is pure political mischief to link the distinguished Senator to a criminal gang,” Mr. Ekong said.

He said several petitions sent by community members to different law enforcement agencies, linking Mr. Akpabio to the group, were “politically motivated”.

Senator Akpabio Local Government under siege as ‘Akwa Marine cult group’ attacks many - THEKILLERPUNCH NEWS
Members of Midim Atan community in Akwa Ibom, who recently travelled to Abuja to protest against incessant attacks by a group called Akwa Marine. [Photo Credit: Ebuka Onyeji]

“Any criminal who has been apprehended by the security agencies should be made to face the consequences of his action,” Mr. Ekong said, referring to the recent arrest of Mr. Ben.

Attacks and killings

Ahead of the elections in 2011 and 2015, attacks by the group largely targeted those perceived to support political parties other than the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the state’s governing party, several security officials and witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.

Victor Udom, a community member, told this newspaper how he and another resident of the community, Samuel Ikpa, fled the community after being attacked in 2015 on suspicion they supported the main opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC.

“On that fateful morning, we were suddenly surrounded by members of the gang led by Emmanuel Ben. Before we could say jack, kicks, hits and blows rained on us,” Mr. Udom, a former ExxonMobil staff said. “If not for some community members who saw what was happening and alerted the police on surveillance team on ground for the election, we would have been dead.”

READ  Dakkada; Eket and memory of Governor Adeusi

In recent months, the attacks have been more random, with gang members going after non-members suspected of supporting efforts to clamp down on the group.

Mr. Udom’s cousin, Udo Udom, was killed and set alight alongside another community member, Ekpenyong Uwa, in September 2016, by the group, this paper confirmed. The group accused them of theft, an allegation their families strongly denies.

After evading capture for years, Mr. Ben was finally arrested in February by the police, with the support of the State Security Service, SSS, and locals.

Mr. Ben was transferred to Abuja where he is currently being held at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, office on allegations of terrorism and murder.

But some community members say the police, under pressure from politicians, are making efforts to send him back to Akwa Ibom on claims his offences are not federal crimes. Police did not respond to that claim.

Seeking justice

In recent weeks, attacks have escalated in the small community largely in response to Mr. Ben’s arrest.

A fortnight ago, members of the gang attacked the local market, called Urua Nsong Eto, and vandalised shops, sending traders scampering for safety. They also torched homes of those suspected to be in support of Mr. Ben’s arrest.

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Members of Midim Atan community in Akwa Ibom, who recently travelled to Abuja to protest against incessant attacks by a group called Akwa Marine. [Photo Credit: Ebuka Onyeji]

In a bid to get government’s attention on the activities of the gang, fleeing community members mobilised and travelled to Abuja for a protest march on April 27, but were denied permission by the commissioner of police, FCT command, Musa Kimo.Mr. Udom said police advised them to take the protest to Akwa Ibom. The community leaders later marched to Louis Edet House, the Force Headquarters in Abuja, where they narrated their personal experiences at the hands of the group’s leader, Mr. Ben.

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Amongst several crimes, Mr. Ben is accused of ordering the killing of the two men murdered in Midim Atan: Udo Udom and Ekpenyong Uwa.

Mr. Udom’s mother, Nse John, was one of the over a dozen community members who managed to travel to Abuja in April to seek justice.

She told PREMIUM TIMES her son was killed by the gang led by Mr. Ben on September 28, 2016.

“They came and took my child from the house at 7 pm. When they left with my child, I was not feeling well, I put on my clothes and walked gently. Before I could get there, they had killed him and cut him into pieces,” Mrs. John narrated amidst tears.

The community chief, Mr. Jeremiah, who corroborated the story, told PREMIUM TIMES the attacks have continued because of the support the group receives from powerful individuals.

“We have gone to many security agencies, when we call them, they will say the situation is a very bad one but nothing will be done,” he said.

 

By Ebuka Onyeji, PREMIUM TIMES

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