By Isaiah Eka 08039185152
Okobo (Akwa Ibom), Jan. 22, 2021 The Akwa Ibom Government, wading into the communal clashes between Okopedi and Amamong communities in Okobo Local Government Area, has called for peaceful coexistence as relief materials worth millions of naira were distributed to the victims.
The State Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, made the call at Okobo during the distribution of the relief materials on Friday.
Ekpo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in his office, Mr Nkopuruk Ekaiko, said that it was necessary for the warring communities to sheath their swords and tolerate one another for peace to reign.
He said that with the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic already taking its toll on the economic fortunes of the State, it would be irresponsible for communities, which hitherto lived together to resort to wanton destruction.
The deputy governor commended the efforts of the Okobo Council Chairman, traditional rulers, security operatives and religious leaders in restoring peace to the area
Similarly, several communities recently displaced on account of cult-related crises in Inen clan of Oruk Anam local government area also received relief materials.
Ekpo also cautioned the communities to return to the path of peace, and contribute their quota to the building of a peaceful society.
The deputy governor appealed to the two communities to give peace a chance and reminded them that no tangible development could thrive in an atmosphere of chaos and war.
He warned that the State Government would no more send relief materials to any community which engages in man-made disaster.
“It is erroneous for government to intervene in man-made disasters because already it is spending too much in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and no community should add to the burden of government.
“Learn to live in peace with one another, if you do so, development will come to the area and businesses will thrive,” Ekpo said.
The Council Chairman of Okobo, Dr Sylvester Attah, warned the communities that nothing could be gained from war or communal clashes.
Attah appealed to the youths in the waring communities to stop the fighting, adding that anyone fomenting trouble again in the area would be dealt with decisively and made to face the full wrath of the law.
He commended the state government for the prompt intervention and response with the relief materials.
The Paramount Ruler of Okobo, Edidem Ita Okokon 111, thanked the state government for the swift intervention, stating that they were working tirelessly to ensure that peace is restored and sustained in the community.
He disclosed that already a traditional injunction has been placed on the disputed land and thanked the government for the relief materials.
One of the victims, Mrs Florence Ekpenyong, who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries, thanked the state government for the relief materials and decried the wanton destruction meted on innocent people during the crisis.
At Oruk Anam, the chairman of the Council, Mr Kingsley Frank, commended the state government for the cooperation in bringing an end to the cult skirmishes in the area.
Frank thanked the state government for the donation of relief materials to cushion the effects of the crisis.
Items distributed included bags of cement, roofing sheets, mattresses, blankets, bags of rice, bags of beans, nylon mats, noodles, mosquito nets, plastic buckets, bags of garri, cartons of seasoning, cartons of bathing soap and bags of salt.