Akwa Ibom community blames communal clashes on locals, NBC’s indifference

Indigenes of Nkari Community in Ini Council of Akwa Ibom State have blamed the constant clashes with their Abia State neighbours on the people and the National Boundary Commission’s (NBC) lukewarm attitude towards the clashes often caused by land disputes.

They lamented that no fewer than three persons have been killed and four others abducted in a renewed clash between Nkari and Usaka Uko Community in Ikwuano Council of Abia State.

The Guardian learnt that the latest crisis happened on Friday, January 22, 2021, when some youths from Usaka Uko allegedly ambushed Nkari people, shot them, and seized their motorcycles.

A similar incident occurred in August 2020 in which about 11 persons were killed and several others injured on both sides.

Narrating the incident to the Civil Liberties Organisation led by its Chairman, Franlkyn Isong, who visited the area with some newsmen, Major Tony Isenyeng (rtd.), said the community has been rendered helpless over the incessant bloodletting.

He charged the NBC to facilitate demarcation of the boundary between the communities, adding that security operatives should be permanently deployed to the area to forestall the further crisis.

A former councilor in Nkari Ward 4, Benjamin Christopher Akpan, said: “Last Friday which was our market day, the attackers lay ambush and killed our people. They killed my younger brother, my relative, and her husband.

“As we speak, four other persons who passed the road could not be found; they may have been abducted. The issue is beyond our community, as we now live in perpetual fear. We have become endangered species.”

Also, representative of Ini Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Emmanuel Bassey, described the crisis as ‘a guerilla war,’ because the Usaka Uko youths usually lay ambush and shoot anyone who passed the road.

He demanded full security presence in the area and urged the Federal Government to mandate the NBC to urgently demarcate the boundary.

Bassey lamented that NBC agreed to demarcate the area in December last year, saying: “Unfortunately, January is almost ending and the commission didn’t come back as promised.”

On his part, the Head of Nkari Clan, HRM Udoette Edon, asked the state government to construct the Mbiabong-Nkari road and link Nkari people to their kinsmen in Akwa Ibom State, noting that the absence of access road was contributing to the attacks on the Nkari people by the Usaka Uko youths.

He urged the state and Federal governments to assist the Nkari people by providing them electricity, potable water, schools, and healthcare facilities, among others.

Leader of Nkari Community, Obong Bassey Inuaeyen, also narrated how a boy that was taking care of his aged father was killed in last Friday’s crisis.

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