By Bassey Bassey
One person Jude Iroh Junior suspected to be a member of the Supreme Vikings Confraternity (SVC) was shot dead Thursday in Ugep, Yakurr local government area by members of the Black Axe Confraternity following a confrontation at the palace of the Obol Lopon Of Ugep.
Jude is a nephew of Barrister Okoi Obono-Obla, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Prosecution.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the renewed war began when members of the SVC visited Obol Ofem Ubana to intimate him of their findings on the disappearance of a member of the axe men months ago.
One who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had visited a Charms man in Akwa Ibom state who told them that the Axe men killed their own person and not the Vikings and Obol Ofem called the Police to arrest them.
“Instead of Obol Ofem to listen to them, he invited the police again to come and arrest them, when they discovered it, one of the Viking men (names withheld) shot towards Obol Ofem’s direction but one of the body guard of the Obol Lopon block the gun shot with his body to protect the Obol,” the SVC member said.
But, further findings reveal that the SVC members visited the Obol’s palace with the native doctor whom they had consulted in Akwa Ibom as they had discovered the missing person died during an initiation ceremony of the Axe men.
The Obol’s bodyguards upon sighting the contingent of Viking’s prevented them from entering the palace which then led to a melee with glass panes in the Obol’s residence broken which prompted him (Obol Ofem) to call the Police Divisional Police Officer who dispatched a team to chase down the fleeing Vikings members alongside his bodyguards.
The SVC have several times alleged that Obol Ofem’s bodyguards are Axemen and he uses them to arrest Vikings who are then handed over to the Police; a situation they described as unfair.
It was during this search that Mr.Jude was shot dead and at least two others sustaining injuries.
His death sparked a reprisal from the Vikings who burnt some house suspected to belong to Axe men in Ijiman, Ugep on Thursday night with several members of both gangstar groups sustaining gun wounds as well as innocent bystanders.
However, men of the Nigerian Army and the State Anti-Robbery Squad were seen patrolling Ugep town throughout Friday in a bid to restore calm in the area.
Reacting to the loss of his nephew, Mr. Obla took to Facebook to express his grievances and warned against politicians arming youths for elections as this always backfired.
He outlined steps taken by the family to rein in Jude and sued for all families to be forthright as it may happen to anyone.
“In my family’s case, we have summoned my nephew who was killed yesterday to a family meeting some weeks earlier and directed him to quit when we learnt he is a member of a blood thirsty and murderous cult group known as Viking. He acknowledged his membership and said he will work towards renouncing it. I am not sure he did until he met his untimely death.
“Today, we all need to rise against this devil that is becoming part of our land. The Ugep man is never known to spill the blood of his person. But today it is done in Ugep in the full view of everyone. How did we get to this level? Where is our conscience? Where is our humanity?
“It is also unfortunate that the Palace that should be in the vanguard to cure the land of this menace is also been fingered. This is the time for all of us to act and tell ourselves the truth. Nobody should be spared no matter how highly placed. I am going to champion this. The death of my nephew is also an extra motivation. Our land must be healed,” Obla wrote.
Obol Ofem had earlier this year banned all gangstar activities which makes him the first Cross River monarch reported to have taken a bold step towards curbing what has become a devastating trend plaguing the entire state.