By Odey Ojeka
The home of the paramount ruler of Abi, His Royal Majesty, Eval Solomon Osim Edward was on Wednesday torched following the renewed hostilities between Ebom and the sacked Ebijakara communities in that local government area.
Eval Edward’s home was among many razed when the Ebom community reached out to neighboring communities to attack Usumutong, the community of the paramount ruler.
The attack is said to have been a reprisal after natives of Ebijakara whom were sacked by Ebom over a decade ago allegedly mobilized to attack Ebom and reclaim their community CrossRiverWatch gathered.
The Usumutong people are said to have been harboring the Ebijakara on the condition that they will not attack Ebom again. And Eval Edward who is an in-law to former President Goodluck Jonathan told DailyPost that: “I heard that they left to their ancestral home in Ebom, they didn’t tell anybody, so when they got to Ebom, the people of Ebom resisted them from entering their community.
“Ebom people pursued them back and they wanted to come to Usumutong, but our youths repelled them since they have left. For now, peace has gradually returned to the area but we don’t know what would happen tomorrow whether they will re-enforce and come back.”
“The Ebijakara people have been out of the community for the past 13 years and we in Usumutong have been harboring them and we have been restraining them from going out for war with their neighbors. Recently, the Ebom people abducted two of our sons and when they threatened going back to their land, we have no control over them so we asked them to go.
“But the Ebom people pursued them back to Usumutong and we also said they should not come back, our youths pursued them back, saying they should remain there. Ebom drove them up to our boundary but we resisted them from coming in as well.”
The clan head of Ebom however said that the Usumutong people entered their community on Wednesday morning and, “started shooting guns threatening and attacking his people. Our people are still in the bush, they have not returned to enable me know how many are missing or dead, when they return, they will come to my house but as at now, the situation is dicey.”
As at press time, it was unclear if they were fatalities recorded. But, 134 displaced persons comprising of 28 adult women, 63 girls and 43 boys who fled Usumutong, are now taking refuge at the palace of the Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ofem Ubana.
One of the refugees (names withheld for security reasons) told this reporter that: “Ebom, Ediba, Afafanyi, Upper Igoni Igoni and Adim communities attacked us when we were sleeping. They have burnt our king palace and our Air Marshall house and other houses. They killed some of our people. But our youths are still in the village to protect our Land.”
However, a commercial cyclist who aided in conveying some of the displaced persons told CrossRiverWatch on condition of anonymity that the home of the unknown Air Marshall was not torched due to the materials used in building it. However, he said that the glasses surrounding the house were shattered.
Also, CrossRiverWatch gathered that a combined team of the Army and Police have since been deployed to the troubled area while the community heads may meet with the Cross River State government next week Tuesday.
Obol Ubana who has been seeking the resettlement of the Ebijakara people said that he has been trying to reach the Head of Local Government Area (HOLGA), a senior civil servant in charge of administration to get information but to no avail.
“I have called the Abi HOLGA but he is not picking his calls. Presently as you can see we are providing food for them. I am also making plan to provide accommodation for them,” Obol Ubana said.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.