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12 Aug 2017

See reason why villagers run away from community

Over 100 residents of Ehom community in Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State on Friday deserted their domain for fear of impending communal crisis over land dispute.
Some of the trees allegedly destroyed in Ehom
Residents of the community feared that neighbouring communities including Ekpri-Iko, Iwuru Obio-Ntan, Ayaba, Ehom-Evia and Idoma would attack them any moment them and they had to desert the area for fear of being victims.

Although no life has been lost, but property worth millions of naira have so far been destroyed.

Some of the indigenes of Ehom central who spoke with Southern City News on Friday, revealed that the residents have sought refuge in Calabar.

Property already destroyed include furniture, electronic, personal property, cooking utensils, palm mills, economic trees, cash and other valuables.

Village head of Ehom central, Chief Onda Onda, alleged that those unleashing mayhem are youths from five communities who were armed with guns, machetes, knives and other warring equipment and charms.

He said, “They invaded my community and said I am their problem. As they advanced to my community, they were destroying all available economy trees, destroying sign post. They vandalised everything in my house including my mill.

“The issue emanated from a land. A woman, Mrs. Rose Bassey, bought land from Ekpri-Iko people and the land extended to our land and I asked her to come for regularisation of tenancy. Instead of coming for regularisation, she now sponsored the people against me and my community.

“They have not appealed against that judgment since then but while selling their land, they included my portion.”

Onda said that though the matter had already been taken to several courts for resolution, he charged the police to remain neutral.

 “I am sad, disappointed and discouraged the way the Police handled the matter. I took a matter from the state Criminal and Investigations Department to Zone Six and they arrested my workers. I was remanded in prison at Afokang.

When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, said policemen have been drafted to the area to maintain peace.

“We have sent some policemen there and the crisis in the area has been perennial. This is not the first time. We go round visiting and preaching to the people to embrace peace, we played the role of the police, traditional rulers, peace maker, mediator and others because we want peace to reign.”

On involvement of a former Accountant-General in the state, Mrs. Rose Bassey, the police boss said, “She is not the one that sponsored the crisis, we have not got any complaint about her.”

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