Okon Bassey in Uyo
A bloody cult clash has reportedly claimed three lives in Awa village in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Apart from Awa, which is the village of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the other villages affected by the cult war include Afaha Ubium, Ikot Obong Ishiet, Edem Idim and Ikot Asse, as well as other neighbouring villages in the area.
It was learnt that the cultists laid siege on the affected villages killing three persons and leaving scores with various degrees of injuries.
The cult war, which reportedly started two weeks ago allegedly involved the Ku Klan Klux, better known as KKK or Axe confraternity and Vikings known in local parlance as Ekpat, and Ekut.
THISDAY gathered that these cultists were fighting a battle of supremacy over the control of the disbursement of the cash given to youths by one of the state government-owned industries operating in the community.
An eyewitness, Mr. Sunday Enang, said the money was released to the youth leader who was a member of Vikings (Ekpat) and he shared it only to his members without giving to members of the KKK (Ekut), the rival cult group in the area.
He said the rival cult members regrouped and armed themselves with dangerous weapons to kill the youth leader who had escaped to the neighbouring village in Etinan LGA when he observed strange movement around his home.
Eniang said the younger brother of the youth leader was killed and the body butchered to pieces when they could not find him at home.
He said that at Ikot Obong Ishiet, where another cultist escaped, the mother, father and son of the ‘ run-away ‘ cultist were seriously injured.
“Some of the persons killed were brothers or relatives of the cultists who escaped on sighting the rival groups while their brothers who were not aware of the danger were lynched.”
Enang disclosed that the cultists operated freely in Awa , the home town of Governor Emmanuel and made a counter parade to shame the police who only showed up in their surveillance van and retired to the stations as the battle between the rival cult groups became bloody.
He said the cultists mounted road blocks to barricade entrance leading to Governor Emmanuel’s residence and seized motorcycles from okada riders passing through the road to the neighbouring villages
Another eyewitness who pleaded anonymity, said that the brother of another cultist in Ikot Asse was cut to pieces when they could not get the elder brother who is a member of the rival group.
He accused the police of compromise in the cult clashes, alleging that the police only blew siren around the villages signalling the cultists to escape, adding that the development made it impossible for the police to arrest anybody.
“Nobody has been arrested since this crisis started in Onna. When they wanted to kill in Governor Udom’s village, security was beefed up . But the cultists have vowed to kill in the governor’s village”
He said the soldiers and the police guarding the resident of Governor Emmanuel could not help to restore normalcy in the village.
At Awa, the home town of Governor Emmanuel, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARs), Department of State Services (DSS) and soldiers were seen parading the community yesterday.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Akwa Ibom State, Odiko Mcdon, said nobody has been arrested but confirmed that three persons were killed while others sustained injuries.
“Yes there is cult clash in Onna though nobody is arrested for now but three persons have been confirmed dead.”
“Investigation is ongoing. Whenever the culprits are arrested we would bring them to book. You know this government has zero tolerance for cultism and we would not condone their activities,” he added.
Ganduje Receives Report on RUGA Settlements, Says Project on Course.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has said the state government is determined to implement the RUGA project, meant to resettle herdsmen and boost economic activities.
Ganduje stated this on Saturday in Kano while receiving the report on the establishment of Ruga and Milk Market in Kano State.
According to him, apart from tackling insecurity, the RUGA settlement project will change the socio-economic status of Fulani herdsmen and open new revenue outflow to government.
“Don’t bother yourself with RUGA or whatever name it is called; the fact remains that Fulanis must be settled and enjoy basic social amenities like any other citizen.
“They need to be educated. Education is key. We are also thinking of establishing modern abbatoir, so that haulage of cattle from North to south would be replaced with transportation of processed meat,” he explained.
Ganduje revealed that his administration was in talks with the Islamic Development Bank on the issue, assuring that the talk had reached advance stage.
“We are now at the implementation stage of our collaboration, to tell you how serious we are,” the governor added.
Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Dr. Jibrilla Mohammed, revealed that they visited five forests in the state before resolving to recommend Dansoshiya Forest in Kiru Local Government Area for the project.
According to him, other forests visited were Panyabo in Doguwa, Duddrum Gaya in Ajingi, Dunawa in Makoda and Bichi LGAs.
“After deliberations and considerations of the aims and objectives of government on the project, the committee settled for Dansoshiya forest in Kiru LGA for the initial take-off of the project,” he said.
According to the chairman, Dansoshiya forest has the advantage of being very large with sizeable number of Fulani settlements and good arable land for grass cultivation.
Mohammed said the committee also recommended two model houses of two bedrooms, which would be built in form of clusters of six houses.
“The committee recommended other facilities like, industrial borehole, veterinary clinic, dispensary, earth dam, milk collection centre, primary school, Islamiyyah school, Mosque, and security outpost. All these are included in the masterplan,” he disclosed.
On the establishment of milk market, the committee recommended Dangwauro as the most ideal site to establish the Model Milk Market, because of easy access to the milk producing areas.
Mohammed said that in the proposed milk market there would be provision for cold rooms, toilets and stores among other facilities.