From Mfon Ekefre, Uyo
A cold war that suddenly degenerated into a serious communal clash arising from claim and counter-claim over a fishing terminal by two communities in Mbo Local Government, Akwa Ibom State has landed some residents of both communities in hospitals following injuries sustained during the clash.
The communities, Akai Udo and Akai Ebughu, had been nursing ill feelings against each other over ownership of the terminal until this year when they lost their patience and resolved to claim it by force.
In order to avert further loss of property and maiming of people, government waded into the matter through the commissioner for local government. Hon. Victor Antai.
Addressing the traditional rulers, elders, stakeholders and youths at the traditional ruler’s palace, the commissioner expressed dissatisfaction over the incident.
Antai pointed out the consequences of a warring society, one of which is backwardness in the development process, adding that the situation if not addressed on time may impede the development plans which government is putting in place for the communities in the area.
He said apart from Ibaka Deep Seaport, the state government was fashioning out ways to create farm yards across every local government area in the state in order to create employment opportunities for the youths.
He pleaded with the warring factions to sheath their swords as investors would want a peaceful atmosphere to invest instead of a violent community.
After all parties in the dispute had exhausted their minds, the commissioner reiterated his appeal to them to allow peace to reign.
He promised to pay the hospital bills of victims of the communal crisis.
It would be recalled that Mbo Local Council has of recent been embroiled in crisis.
Recently, the Member representating the area in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Samuel Ufuo, alerted the House to the suffering of the people and surrounding communities in the hands of sea pirates.
According to him, the pirates recently seized five boats loaded with crayfish, forcefully collected large sums of money from fishermen and raped women in Effiat community.
The lawmaker said after the bandits had concluded dispossessing residents of their monies and were set to leave, they suddenly returned and asked a woman who had conceal her money in her baby’s pampers to bring it out. When she said she had no money, her baby was searched and the money found in its pampers.
Instead of taking the money, they drowned the baby in the river. The mother attempted to drown herself with her baby but was held back by sympathizers.