BEVERLY HILLS, April 08, (THEWILL) – No fewer than 12 villages in the Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have been displaced as soldiers tried to rid the area of criminals.
In a message to the affected persons, the Chairman of the council, Hon. Anthony Luke, recalled that the nefarious activities of hoodlums originally led to the displacement of people from their homes as lives and property across the area were unsafe.
Luke said the assault by the hoodlums began in Essien Udim on February 22, 2021 when they attacked a police patrol team’s vehicle at Ikpe Annang Junction, along Ikot Ekpene-Uyo Road
He said the havoc was repeated on Nigerian Customs personnel at Nsasak Junction, along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road before the hoodlums later set the Essien Udim Divisional Police Station at Nto Nsek ablaze and carted away ammunition.
The Chairman said: “By their criminal activities such as extortion, intimidation, robbery, and general abuse of the fundamental human rights of the people, the situation degenerated to a point that people were living in fear.
“Yesterday, a combined team of military and other security agencies in the state conducted a clearance operation at Ntak Ikot Akpan to flush out the miscreants who have been perpetrating havoc in the local government area. The operation, which deployed both land and aerial onslaught on the hoodlums and their hideouts by the security personnel, was very successful as the criminals were dislodged.”
He listed communities affected by the military raid to include Ntak Ikot Akpan, Ukana Uwa, Ikot Udo Ekpat and Ikot Otu.
Others were Ikot Afangna, Nto Nsek, Ikot Abia, Ikot Ankan, Ikot Ukpong Etor, Ikot Ada Utor, Nsasak as well as Ikot Akpan Essiet.
Luke explained that the displaced persons from these villages had been camped at St. Ann Cathedral, Ikot Ekpene, Civic Centre, Atan, Ikot Okoro and St Brigid Parish, Urua Akpan.
“I have visited our displaced persons to encourage them, give them hope and assure them that they will be well catered for. Even as I sympathise with them over what has befallen them, especially in this planting season, as our people are predominantly farmers; this is very unfortunate.
“Let me use this medium to express my deepest gratitude to the Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Dr. Camillus Umoh for his magnanimity. The Bishop has not only graciously offered accommodation in the catholic cathedrals for the internally displaced persons, but has also promised to partner the council in taking care of the people until it is safe for them to return home.”
He assured the displaced persons that the state government was working to ensure that normalcy returned so they could return home.