Intra-communal Clash Claims Lives In C-River


BY ETENG OKOI, CALABAR – There are palpable fears that fierce intra-communal clash may have claimed many lives in Mkpani community of Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State on Sunday, September 29, 2019.

The area, which is the home town of former Cross River governor and member, Board of Trustee (BoT) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC),  Dr Clement Ebri, is reportedly embroiled in intra-communal conflict.

Insiders hinted that there is uneasy calm among community members and leaders, including Chief Ebri, who was the governor between January 1992 and November 17, 1993 during the Third Republic on the platform of National Republican Convention (NRC)

According to reports from the area which is less than 100 kilometres from Calabar, the State capital, the crisis is over a chieftaincy matter and started on Saturday night, September 28, 2019 when one of the small villages within the community, Afaben, held its annual new yam festival.

An indigene of the area and a journalist with the state-owned newspaper, Nigerian Chronicle, Mazi Hossanah Ukonu, explained that the tussle involves the Chief of Afaben, His Highness, Obol Lopon Sunday Okoi, who is insisting that he remains the only recognised Obol Lopon in Mkpani.

Ukonu further stated that Chief  Okoi therefore described Chief Dan Ubi of Aduma hamlet as an impostor for taking an illegal and so-called title of Obol Lopon of Aduma.

He said Obol Sunday Okoi had instituted a court case against the Chief of Aduma and seven others insisting that for over three hundred years, there has only been one Obol Lopon in Mkpani and not two.

“The case is in a Calabar High Court but he is not patient to wait for the outcome of the court case before attacking us”, Ukonu claimed.

He also alleged that sophisticated weapons are being deployed by all sides in the conflict which has led to many casualties, with houses razed in the process.

“As I speak to you now, many people have been killed but I cannot give the exact figure from my hiding place. Houses in both Afaben and Aduma have been burnt down in the crisis which is still raging now, Sunday evening” he said.

Efforts to reach the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr Eteng Williams, who is a also from the area did not yield result as his phone lines were unreachable.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer for the State Police Command, DSP Irene Ugbo, who confirmed the report, said more anti-riot policemen have been deployed to the area to maintain peace and order.

She said the situation is already under control and the Police Command has commenced investigations to unravel the root cause of the conflict and also bring the perpetrators to book to avoid further occurrence. – With additional report from Vanguard

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