By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CALABAR— OVER 40 persons are feared dead, while four Mobile Policemen and the village Head of Ntan Obu Ukpe in Eniong, Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, were allegedly beheaded in a renewed communal clash between the Ntan Obu and the Ikpanya in Ibiono Local government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Already, about 2,000 indigenes of Ntan Obu are now refuges in nearby communities of Odukpani council, while houses, including churches were destroyed by the invaders, who allegedly had the help of Fulani herdsmen.
Confirming the report, Chairman of Odukpani council, Mr. Stephen Asuquo, said the people of Ntan Obu were attacked by the Ikpanaya neighboring community of Akwa Ibom State, last week.
Asuquo said: “The remote cause, I can say, is the struggle by people from the Ikpanya for the land that belongs to the Ntan Obu. Ikpanya is in Ibiono council of Akwa Ibom State while Ntan Obu is in Odukpani council in Cross River State.
“Something similar took place last year and the deputy governors of the two states met and agreed that everything should return to what it was before the crisis, while they looked into it and the Supreme Court judgment had ruled that the land belonged to Odukpani and the people of Odukpani are Cross River State indigenes.
“So people from Ikpanya had tried to lease out Ntan Obu land to cattle rearers. You can appreciate it because it is a flop play; once the rain subsides and the water recedes, the land leaves alluvial product on the surface which acts as a natural fertilizer to the vegetation. So I am appealing to the cattle rearers, we don’t mind cattle rearers being there but they must recognise the overlords and not that of the neighbouring community.”