NO fewer than 50 lives were lost in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State following bloody communal clashes with 10 communities destroyed and more than 3,000 people displayed and rendered homeless.
Report from the area said that between June 13 and July 23 , 2019 attacks and reprisals have sacked villages of Mbiabo Edere, Ediong, Obom itiat, Idim Ndom, Mkpanuruk Etehentem, Ikot Out, Ikot Efa, Ikot Iwatt, Ikot Offiong, Ekpene Eki, Obodio and Obionno in Mbibio Ebom and Eki wards of Odukpani Local Council.
National Light gathered that when the Administrative panel of enquiry visited the affected villages last Tuesday, not a single soul was left in the communities except for Idim Ndom where a young unclad boy was sighted wandering about. Many of the houses were either burnt down or pulled down with some valuables like doors, root zincs and windows carted away while the economic trees were cut down.
Chairman of the seven-man committee, Victor Effiom Ekpo, who led a delegation on a fact-finding mission, condemned the wanton destruction of lives and property.
He said, ”the destruction is bizarre, the primary health centre and schools have been burnt down leaving over 1,000 pupils out of school, adding that transformer in the area was not spared”.
Commenting on the crisis, the clan Head of Obom Itiat Edere, Etubom Effiong Asuquo Nyong said “the conflict that engulfed my area is as a result of people claiming that my community and I must not exist. That we must go back to Calabar where we came from and they erroneously said the land in which we live belongs to them.
The monarch further said that he is an origin, (I am Abayen, our neigbours in Eki have tried to annex us by force but our objection has led to this crisis.
Also speaking, the former Chairman of Odukpani Local Government, Etubom Justin Asuquo, said that the incident started last year but we were seeing coming close until June 13 when there a serious attack on the people of Idim Ndom in 2018.
According to him, youths from Obom Itiat, Mbiabo and Ikot Offiong invaded Idim Ndom at about 2am and killed 17 persons since then, the attack have continued till date. More than 25 persons have been killed from our side,” he said.
Efforts by our correspondent to contact the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) to speak on the matter proved abortive as she was said to be on official duties.