Normalcy has returned to the troubled Ibiaku Ishiet in Uruan local government area and Ifa Ikot Akpan in Uyo local government area of Akwa Ibom State following crisis over a disputed land that recorded many casualties.
It was alleged that the people of the thickly populated Ibiaku Ishiet and Ifa Ikot Akpan communities had on Tuesday, March 19 clashed over a large expanse of land said to be in dispute.
The unrest spearheaded by suspected hoodlums allegedly sponsored by Ifa Ikot Akpan attacked, matcheted and destroyed the farming implements of Ibiaku Ishiet people.
Straightnews gathered that without the timely intervention of police, there would have been more casualties as the hoodlums wreaked mayhem that landed many in different hospitals.
Eye witness said “I was walking on Ibiaku Ishiet Road leading to Oron-Uyo Road when I saw a herd of thugs chasing a group of persons.
“I joined in running. When I looked I saw a group of matchet-wielding men pursuing people. No one waited to ask what was happening. But we took to our heels to escape the anger of the rampaging mob. It was awful sight.”
Another eyewitness said “The people of Ibiaku Ishiet in Uruan and Ifa Ikot Akpan in Uyo clashed over a land. The land has been in dispute by both communities over the years. However, on Tuesday, they fought and attacked over the land.
“The people of Ibiaku Ishiet were engaging in farming activities, but Ifa Ikot Akpan people came and violently chased them away. I do not know much about the ownership of the land.
“On Tuesday morning, some Ifa Ikot Akpan villagers mobilised people suspected to be hoodlums to the land. As the mob entered the land, the people of Ibiaku Ishiet were farming. The mob, therefore, engaged them in fisticuff, and matchet cuts of the farmers.”
Confirming the incident to a privately owned radio station- Comfort FM, Uyo, on Wednesday, Odiko MaCdon, the state Police Public Relations Officer for Akwa Ibom State Police Command, said “When the matter was reported to us, we moved in there. Arrests have been made.
“From what the community chief told us that the matter had been there for a long time. There was a court case between Ibiaku Ishiet and Ifa Ikot Akpan. The people of Ifa Ikot Akpan took them to court since 2017. Judgment was given in favour of Ibiaku Ishiet in March 2019 that they should take over the possession of the land.
“But the Ifa Ikot Akpan people did not wait for us to take over the land. Rather, they mobilised to the land and wrecked mayhem on farmers, chasing, attacking and matcheting our people. Since Tuesday, the police command had dispatched a patrol team to patrol the area bordering Uruan and Ifa to checkmate further attacks.The DPO for Shelter Afrique had made some arrests.”
The Divisional Police Officer for Uruan (name withheld) confirmed that “The area is calm. We came from the troubled place 5 a.m, though the village head said the youth leader from the community in Ibiaku Ishiet was arrested and taken to Uyo.”
Collaborating, the DPO for Shelter Afrique in Uyo (name withheld) confirmed to Comfort FM “Women went to farm in the land. After a while, unidentified persons bumped in and wrecked havocs in the land. After one hour, we were able to restore normalcy to the area.
MaCdon noted “I must thank you the DPO for Uruan on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. It is his directive that you ensure the area is calm and peaceful. Please, go ahead to interface with those concerned to ensure there is peace and there is no crisis around there.
“I must thank you the DPO for Shelter Afrique on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. It is his directive that you ensure there is no more escalation of crisis in the area. He wants absolute peace in the area.”
The PPRO said “I think the needful is being done. A patrol team is being stationed in the disputed area to forestall any seeming crisis. We are committed to the cause of peace in every part of Akwa Ibom State.”