…Uyo lawmaker Anietie Eka steps in to avert bloodbath
…over 15 houses demolished, curfew breached…
…residents cry out…
The peaceful ambience of Ekpri Nsukara community in Nwaniba, in Uyo local government area, yesterday, at dawn, was disrupted as gunfire rent the air, causing fear and pandemonium in the hitherto peaceful area.
Fearing armed robbers attack, following the gun shots that persisted for over an hour, the residents of the community remained indoors for fear of their lives and property.
Investigations revealed later that the gun shots was fired at about between 2 a:m and 3 a:am by security operatives supposedly engaged by the University of Uyo authorities to demolish over 15 buildings alleged by the university to have encroached on their land.
Further information by close source to the citadel of learning disclosed that security operatives hired by the school authorities fired several shots in the night (about 2 a:m) to scare the citizens of the area while they (the soldiers) and some unknown persons embarked upon the demolition exercise using bull dozers to pull down several houses in the community alleged to have been built on the university land.
Pain, anguish and wailing rent the air when residents woke up to see the magnitude of devastation wrecked by the university. No live was lost but property worth millions of naira was destroyed in the moment of madness.
However, the timely intervention of Rt. Hon. Anietie Eka, Member, representing Uyo State Constituency saved an obvious and break down of law and order and chaos in the area.
The Uyo lawmaker, who said he was called on phone about the havoc and quickly visited the area, expressed amazement at the level of damage done to properties in the communities.
He appealed for peace in the area as youths in the area were agitating for a reprisal attack on the school property. He promised that the state government will intervened in the matter and restore normalcy.
It was disclosed that the Uyo lawmaker had, in March this year, called for a meeting of stakeholders of the area in conjunction with the Paramount ruler to broker peace between the university and the ten communities that sold the land to the school authorities. However, the deliberate absence of the University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aniefiok Essien at the meeting, truncated the peace and reconciliation move.
It was suspected that the newly employed Chief Security Officer of the university, one Inyang Asuqwo, who had suddenly disappeared since the early morning havoc is the master planner of the dastardly act.
The school security officer aided by security operatives and some faceless men defied the existing federal and state government restriction order to manage the further spread of the dreaded corona virus which has become a world wide pandemic by ordering a dusk to dawn (8 p:m – 6 a:m) curfew in the state to create such magnitude of inhuman act while the state sleeps.
Onlookers wondered why such order from the school authorities should be carried out at such a time when the state is still managing to curb the covid-19 pandemic expressing gratitude to the presence of Rt. Hon. Anietie Eka whom they say had prevented the area from embarking on a reprisal attack on the school properties.
A community leader in the area, Otuekong Emem Asikpo who was also present during the lawmaker’s visit, hinted that in 2018, during a similar situation, the state governor had directed, through the office of the Secretary to the State Government, to look into the lingering land tussle between the university authorities and its landlords and to instill peace in the area.
The Secretary, according to Otuekong had set up a committee and invited the school authorities, represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aniefiok Essien, the Uyo local government chairman, the Clan Head, the State Surveyor General, two perm secs and himself to a meeting to resolve the land issue.
The meeting headed by the SSG resolved that the school authorities should seize from destroying people’s properties in the communities. After identifying the boundaries, he advised both parties to restrict from trespassing into each others land and advised the University to open up the boundaries dividing the school from the communities and erect perimeter fence using wire mesh to checkmate any alleged encroachment.
Otuekong Asikpo said that, the position of that committee had been held tenaciously by the communities by barring farm activities on the sides. He therefore, wondered what could have triggered such act of wickedness visited upon the communities.
He thanked the Uyo lawmaker for his quick response and called on the state government and the police to intervene and carry out proper investigation into the matter to arrest and bring to justice, the perpetrators of the illegal demolition to avoid a recurrent in the future.
© Samuel Odungide reporting