Niger Delta News

Communal Clash Between Ilaje Fishermen, Ibeno Community In Akwa Ibom Claims 10

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

A bloody communal clash, Wednesday, involving the mostly Yoruba fishermen, Ijaw residents and natives of the riverine Ibeno Local Area of Akwa Ibom State has allegedly claimed 10 lives.

Several others are said to be missing while property worth several millions of naira have been reportedly destroyed during the melee.

The immediate cause of the violence is yet to be established as of the time of the report.

Paramount Ruler of the community, His Majesty, Owong Effiong Achianga’s, could not be reached due to ill health.

It was, however, learnt that the fracas might have been ignited by the perennial ethnic fights between the host and the migrant residents in time past.

One of the local residents of Mkpanak in Ibeno Local Government Area hinted that “the crisis started as a result of cult clash before snowballing into an ethnic dimensions.”

“The Ilaje people, mostly fishermen, have started fleeing the community through bush paths, while their houses and shanties close to water front had been looted and razed by hoodlums,” the source further hinted.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at Iibeno.

“I am not aware, but I will find out,” Macdon said.

Mr Oluwajuwon Ogunbiyi, a Yoruba resident in Ibeno, who confirmed the incident, described the situation as unfortunate.
He called on the state government to set up a committee to investigate the crisis.

“It is quite unfortunate that this crisis has led to the loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties.

“The Ibeno community had been a good host over the decades to both indigenes and non-indigenes and have been living there in harmony without rancour.

“I am therefore using this medium to appeal for peace and an end to hostilities from both warring parties.

“I also want to call on the Governor of Akwa Ibom State as well as heads of all security agencies in the state to intervene in the matter immediately in order to stem this wave of violence.

“The state government must, as a matter of urgency, set up a committee to look into this crisis so as to ascertain the major cause.

“Perpetrators fanning the embers of war on both sides must be arrested immediately,” and dealt with he asserted.

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