By evangelist.com.ng edition, Tuesday August 22, 2023.
Akwa Ibom state people in Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas (LGAs) Sunday alleged the kidnap of 22 indigenes as tension escalates over disputed ownership of the Akoiyak territory, otherwise known as Stubbs Creek Forest.
Ekid People’s Union (EPU), apex sociocultural leadership organ for Eket and Esit Eket people accuse their Ibeno neighbors of masterminding the alleged abduction, threatening reprisals over the development.
At an enlarged emergency meeting following the incident over the weekend, EPU President-General, Dr. Samuel Udonsak, alleged, “Ibeno people in quick succession invaded Ekid land at Stubbs Creek, tortured Ekid citizens and eventually abducted them. This is an unacceptable, disturbing invitation to retaliation.
“Recall, August 2nd, 2023, about 15 Ekid indigenes were held captive. August 14, 2023, same issue repeated itself with 7 Ekid people seized again after some Ibeno people encroached the land, crossed boundary to demand for royalty on Akoiyak community which belongs to Ekid people.
“Two months before, Esit Urua people in their bravery had to wade off attack from rampaging Ibeno mercenaries. Much earlier, thugs from Ibeno came to Akoiyak, made unnecessary demands and subjected Ekid people to torture.
“We approached the matter peacefully, hoping the attacks will end, but we received report of another attack on Monday, on our people. It is distressful to continue to receive reports of attacks by Ibeno people encroahing boundary to demand royalty from our people residing in Akoiyak, our ancestral home”.
“Let it be known that they have declared war on us and we will respond proportionately, even on a greater dimension to their provocations after processing the terms of our response.”
Responding, Spokesperson for Ibeno, Mr. Diamond Akpanika, denied the allegations, asserting that the Ibenos are peace loving and law-abiding people who have decided to ensure that the prevailing peace in the state. (Vanguard).