One person has been reported dead and others injured when thugs aborted a peace meeting at Uda community in Mbo local government area, Akwa Ibom state.
It was gathered that the thugs who were allegedly hired by the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Xavier Ekpe (rtd) on Wednesday left many attendees from Udung Ukwo in Unyenege community injured.
However, Ekpe described the accusation as baseless and unfounded, stating that he was a victim of the attack and had to be rescued by the village head of the community.
A former Youth President, Godwin Tom, was said to be killed during the attack, as one Asukwo Etekpo was beaten to a coma while one Michael Abia, sustained machete cut on the head.
An indigene of the area, identified as Christopher, said the meeting was organised by Uda traditional council towards finding a peaceful coexistence between the two aggrieved parties in Unyenge when the trouble started.
He stated that Ekpe in connivance with the DPO, Enwang, does not want peace to reign in Unyenge community, adding that the two have sent many people away from the community including the traditional ruler.
According to Christopher, trouble started when Ekpe refused to acknowledge the headship of Chief Okon Etekpo as the traditional ruler of Unyenge.
He said since the death of a former leader in the community, John Esin, the community has known no peace.
“On Wednesday, Ekpe hired some thugs to the venue of the meeting in Uda. The meeting was designed to seek a way to reconcile the aggrieved parties but Ekpe hired some thugs to the meeting place for an onslaught.
“Ekpe had also sponsored thugs to destroy people’s homes in Unyenge including that of Chief Etekpo. We don’t need the DPO in Enwang. He is corrupt as he has been aiding Ekpe to destroy the community,” he said.
A former Youth President in Unyenge, Emmanuel Tekim, said it was sad that one man could torment the community for a long time.
He claimed that at Uda’s parley, Ekpe skipped the proceedings when the other elders had assembled, noting that when Ekpe knew all his lies would be revealed at the party where members of other party were around, he ensured that the meeting ended in a fiasco.
But speaking with our correspondent in Uyo, Ekpe said he was a victim of the attack, saying that he narrowly escaped being lynched by the thugs.
He said “At the meeting, the President of the Uda Community was there; the Chief of Uda was there; I was there, including the students. They deliberated and at the end of it those who came said they cannot go with the matter and that they fixed a date and the meeting was closed and we all moved.
“I don’t know what happened; I was on the road, when I wanted to pass, they blocked me. It was the village head that saved me from the people. It is not true, it’s a blatant lie. Nobody died. Personally, I don’t know because I was beaten up by the same group of people”.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Odiko Macdon, said he was yet to receive information about the crisis, adding that he would investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
He cautioned the public against rushing to the media with information concerning any crisis, adding that the police is the right place to report all crisis situations.
“We don’t have such information at our disposal yet, but I am going to investigate and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
“When things of this nature happen, rather than rushing to the media, people should learn to report to the police for prompt action. Have they reported the matter to the police or the DPO in the area?” he asked.