By Lukman Olabiyi
Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has challenged the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, to bring to justice all those who killed, destroyed and dispossessed the Yoruba people in Ibeno Government Area of the state of their properties.
In a strongly worded letter date May 4, 2022, Adams told Governor Emmanuel that the perpetrators of the dastardly act must be brought to justice before things get out of hand.
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The letter , titled: “Killing of Yoruba and urgent need to ensure justice,” the Aare Ona Kakanfo said security reports reaching him had it that some Yoruba residents of the state were killed.
He said: “While Your Excellency has consistently proved his determination, through constitutional mandate, to ensure that all residents and indigenes of Akwa Ibom State live peacefully without molestation from any quarter, it is sad that some undesirable elements want to shatter the peace in the state.
“I want to express my uttermost shock and horror at the news of the barbarous killings of some Yoruba and destruction of their property by some youths in Mkpanak, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.”
Iba Adams said it was strange to him that the Yoruba people who had been living peacefully in the state could get attacked.
He said: “Anywhere you find Yoruba in the country, they always maintain peace with the host community.
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“That is why I find it strange the incident in this community during which Yoruba residents were harassed, victimised, psychologically tortured and hounded like criminals. In fact, some Yoruba living in this area are still missing, weeks after some elements declared war against them.”
On the cause of the face-off, he said: “It is sad that, according to what I gathered, such a minor business disagreement between two people can lead to this gory incident.
“Why should communal crisis be the only option in a dispute among brothers, leading to loss of lives and destruction of property of innocent people?
“Many houses, vehicles, fishing boats belonging to some Yoruba were razed by these elements who have suddenly turned to ghosts because nobody has been apprehended by security agents.
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“One of the Yoruba businessmen, who has lived in Ibeno for years, has narrated how these indigenes with criminal intentions entered his house, took his money and chased him away. He said on condition of anonymity: ‘Those people were shooting indiscriminately. If the police and soldiers had not come, maybe they would have killed everybody. It was not a small thing, they burnt all my boats and my fishing nets.”
Aare Adams said another Yoruba woman also narrated how she and her six children escaped from the rampaging mob who eventually dispossessed her of her property.
He then called on Governor Emmanuel to ensure justice for his people, adding that the moves by the Commissioner of Police in the state and the Ibeno Local Government Area though had reduced tension, did not serve justice.
He said: “Your Excellency, there are tales of woes from others and as the Chief Security Officer, I urge you to please protect Yoruba indigenes in your state from these marauding elements.
“The Yoruba are civilised and value the sanctity of life but we are also capable of defending ourselves physically, spiritually and scientifically anywhere as long as we are not the aggressors.
“In any community, respect is reciprocal.
“I am happy that the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, deployed men from Ibeno Division and Tactical Teams from the State Headquarters to the affected areas to restore law and order.
“Also, the Chairman of Ibeno Local Government, High Chief Henry Mkpa, imposed a 7pm to 6am curfew on the local government area. While I commend their quick intervention, these efforts are not enough.
“All the trouble makers in the area should be fished out and brought to justice. We are in the 21st Century. Blood thirsty maniacs should not be allowed to run amok in the midst of civilised people.
“This is the time for His Excellency to act before the situation becomes unbearable.
“Justice must not only be done but it must be seen to have been done.”