After entreaties and bare-faced threats, a middle aged man popularly known as Overcomer, the dreaded militant from Akwa Ibom State, came out from the jungle, surrendered arms and embraced the peace initiative of the State Government.
An indigene of Ikpe in Etim Ekpo local government area, Unyime Friday Ibanga otherwise known as Overcomer is one of the cult-leaders – turned militants whose suffocating influence spanned the entire contours of Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo.
Last week (October 2), Governor Udom Emmanuel had issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Overcomer to surrender or be fished out by the security agents.
Also known as Englishman, Overcomer appears to be the last commander who having lost his troops and fearing that the long arm of law might catch up with him, capitulated.
On Monday, October 8, Englishman escorted by their supposed juju priest carrying an earthen pot along with weird-looking militants visited Governor Emmanuel at Government House, Uyo where he was alleged to have surrendered six AK-47 rifles to the police.
The Governor received them and pledged to rehabilitate and re-integrate them into the society.
A bystander at the scene wondered why the aggrieved youths who had killed, maimed, abused women, kidnapped and torched houses should be forgiven instead of being tried for perpetrating criminal and cult-related activities for years.
A security expert who did not want his name in print wanted to know the governor’s motive in not wading into the crisis before now – a matter which he previously used to dismiss as a non-issue and that it was merely political.
Before the emergence of Overcomer, Isokpafid and Stainless were the jungle leaders who terrorised the areas until they were mowed down by security agents.
From September 22-28, 2018, the Akwa Ibom Police Command had directed the militants from the two areas to surrender their arms and embrace peace.
At the end of the exercise, 207 militants were alleged to have surrendered arms to the police.
During their reign of terror, the militants killed many at random, raped females with ease, set ablaze residential houses and markets without qualms and abducted others for ransom.
Even at that, public schools are still under lock and key, the Ukanafun local government secretariat remains shut, socio-economic activities remain paralysed, churches operate with dismal attendance while most residents of the affected areas fled the troubled communities.