By Jonathan Ugbal
At least one is feared dead following a renewed gang war in Ogep-Osokom community of Western Boki in Boki local government area of central Cross River State.
The man referred to as Aboki and belongs to the Iron group of militants was killed by another gang called the Militia between Wednesday night and Thursday morning after weeks of no action from the rival groups.
Aboki is said to have been protecting his master, Mr. Iron when he was attacked by the militia.
Mr. Iron is loyal to the landlords whose tenured ownership of the estate is supposed to elapse by the end of July, 2017 but the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Tina Agbor and her group which include a former secretary of the owners association; one Mactomy choosed to chase the current owners and attempt to forcefully take over earlier this year CrossRiverWatch gathered.
“Iron is being protected by two personnel of the Nigerian Army, one from North West Nigeria and the other from the South-South region. Sokoto State and Benin in Edo State to be precise. And you wonder who posted them there,” a resident (names withheld) told this reporter.
Ogep Osokom is one of the landlord communities of the estate built in the early 60’s by the last and youngest premier of the Eastern region, Mr. Michael Okpara through the Eastern National Development Commission (ENDC)shortly after the establishment of the Obudu mountain resort whose profits were being used to pay the farm settlers in the area.
Other landlord communities include Bafun, Etintin, Oku, Borum and Irruan with the current landlords backed by the ‘Iron Militants’ loyal to the Special Adviser Administration to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr. Mark Obi.
The current landlords are asking for the state to privatize the estate as the past administration did in Ibiae palm estate of Biase local government area but the SSG group want to alot plots to those loyal to the Ben Ayade administration irrespective of their location and background CrossRiverWatch gathered.
The allotting of plots was carried out by Mrs. Agbor who hails from Borum when the current owners had 6 months left in their contract.
This led to the landlords forming a coalition of youths to block the new owners from entering the plantation which gave rise to the Iron Militants and to rival them, the Militia led by Mactomy sprang up.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that there were 3 Primary Schools in the area, one of which Mr. Mark Obi wrote his First School Leaving Certificate but the carnage and arson that began by the military in the 80’s followed by the recent ones have left them in a state of limbo.
The estate management had created some settler communities with the residents urged to diversify and plant other crops. This is evident around the estate A resident told CrossRiverWatch.
A picture obtained by CrossRiverWatch shows women abusing the corpse of Aboki with the Police arresting dozens of suspects so far due to gang related activities.
Police spokesperson, ASP Irene Ugbo could not be reached for comment as at press time.