By Jonathan Ugbal
The people of Obudu Local Government Area, LGA can for now have a breath of fresh air as the major rival gangs/cult groups that have been causing chaos within the community have reached a peace deal, to settle their dispute on a round table.
The Supreme Vikings Confraternity, SVC otherwise known as Aro Baggars, who dress in black and red outfits and known locally as Bibam (literally translated as bags) or bibua (red) and the Klans Confraternity, KC sometimes referred to as Efolk who dress in white and black outfits and known locally as bi nyam anu (K-leg) or bifun (white), are the two gangs that recently adopted peace after months of destruction and unrest within and around Obudu.
CrossRiverWatch investigation reveal that the two gangs have been at loggerheads for quite a long time leaving no fewer than a dozen dead and over two dozen with injuries of various degrees in the past ten months.
A source in the local vigilante group told our reporter that the Council Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Ugbe had called for a meeting with all the Chiefs to enforce peace at all cost after the shooting of one Ms. Elilo Ukwayi, an undergraduate in August last year. The Chiefs whom it is believed know some of the gang executives urged them to initiate the peace moves which have resulted in this truce.
The new Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the Nigeria Police, Obudu Division, Adigwe Emeka (Superintendent), who officially reported for duty late November 2014 during the peace negotiations declined commenting on the issue, stressing that it was not his place to do so, but that of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO). He however in a friendly chat said My brother, we have been doing our job, and will continue doing it.”
The locals, who were seen to be happy to put the nightmare behind them, however are not optimistic about the peace deal.
Some of the resident who spoke with us but pleaded anonymity said: “Leave those boys, they calmed down because it was their masters, the chiefs that ordered them to, very soon they will start their rubbish again. I wish all communities will be like Ohong where every cultist caught perpetrating violence is exiled for some time, at least two years and fined a huge sum with a cow, that way, the crime rate will reduce said an undergraduate.
“There is peace because they have been settled temporarily by politicians, what happens if this administration leaves? Besides, politicians recruit them to do their evil biddings, take the attack on Venatius Ikem for example, no word about the prosecution of those who carried out that act. After the elections they will be jobless again and start stealing says a trader.” Said another respondent.
A third respondent said: “Na woman dey cause all dis palaver, that is the cause of all these problems, ask and you will find out the last war started from someone asking a girl out in a joint around town.”
A senior citizen of the local government who also did not want to be named told CrossRiverWatch in an emotion laden voice that: “It is so appalling when even the media continue to address these boys as cultists. Every organized cult group is based on a specific ideology. Cultists are not murderers. Look at Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare and the likes, they are freedom fighters. They are defenders of the brotherhood of the weak and disadvantaged. They are accomplished professionals who have immense positive influence on their communities. So, when small criminals come together and pick up small arms to terrify communities and we glorify these gangsters by calling them cultists and even give them media attention, we are creating a bigger problem for the society. There should be a clampdown on these criminals and miscreants and deal with their delinquency and stop calling them cultists.”
As at the time of filling this report, the exact terms of the ceasefire were not known, however CrossRiverWatch was reliably informed that pardon was granted to some who had been arrested by the police, especially those with good political links, while some offenders were transferred to Calabar with the police asking for hundreds of thousands to secure their bail.
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