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Ikono Boils As Chairman Declares Dust to Dawn Curfew

Ikono Boils As Chairman Declares Dust to Dawn Curfew

…Royal Fathers, Political Thugs, Ors Fingered

…No, We Have No Hand in It, It is Political – Royal Fathers

…I Don’t Talk to the Media, But I’ve Spoken to Some Electronic Media – Executive Chairman

…Declaring Curfew By Local Govt Chairman is a Doctrine of Necessity – Barr. Ukanga

By Saviour Ekpe

Ikono local government area, popularly known as the cradle of Ibibio Nation is facing a silent internal rancorous fight, which started in the year 2021.

The fight comes in two faces; killings and maiming of innocent citizens by masquerades locally known as ekpo as well as cult killings, which began Mid December 2021 when a Calabar returnee (name withheld) was accosted by some alleged cult members in his hometown in Nung Udoe Itak, near the Nung Udoe Itak Park Junction who asked him why he should travel without informing them. All attempts to appease and explain himself earned him beatings of his life. The middle-aged man was reportedly died upon reaching home and this angered his friends and family members who retaliated and some people were reportedly killed in the process.

Touching the masquerades locally known as ekpo saga, innocent citizens who go about their legitimate businesses have been wounded, maimed and some killed by ekpo (including a village head) especially at Itak Clan. In their reactions, some royal fathers claimed ignorant of the activities of the masquerades, others said that infiltration by masquerades from neighbouring communities while some opined that the agelong culture could not be stopped by a swing of hands but with time.

In his submission, the village head of Nung Okoro Itak, Eteidung Eteidung Sunday Utibe said that touts around the Nung Udoe Motor Park create lots of problems for both motorists and people who are doing business in the place. He advocated for the relocation of the park. He accused government officials of using these boys for their political elevation and thereby dumping them to their fate.

The village head of Ikot Inyang Itak, Eteidung Christopher Udo Essien noted, “crisis in Itak is not caused by ekpo but youths in Itak and people who come here for business. People including politicians know these hoodlums but they refused to identify them”. He called on political actors in the local government including the Executive chairman, Paramount Ruler to redouble their effort to put final end to the crisis while advising them to select five people from each village and form a strong local security team, empower them for effective security activities to complement the Police.

Also bearing his mind on the incident, the village head of Ukpab Ekpan Itak, Pastor Eteidung Bassey Udofia Umoinyang denied having ekpo in his village, he said, “I gave conditions for the operation of ekpo and no one met the condition, that’s why there is no ekpo in my village in line with the directive of the Paramount Ruler”. He appealed to local and state governments to empower security outfits, especially the police to carry on an effective security network.

Also speaking, the village head of the affected community, Nung Udoe Itak, His Lordship, Bishop (Eteidung) Christopher Itong noted that the crisis in the community started long ago due to influx of people, both good and bad to the area for both legitimate and illegitimate endeavours. He bore his mind on the need of the government to beef up security in Nung Udoe Itak, being the gateway to Uyo the state capital by mounting police posts in strategic locations to forestall the reemergence of security threats in the community.

Efforts to reach out to the Paramount Ruler, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Etim Nnana Itang proved abortive as several visits to his palace could not grant media access, though a copy of a letter issued from his office to village heads in his local government, signed by the Paramount Ruler and made available to Century Newsfront christened, “prohibition of masquerades in Ikono Local Government Area” reads, “in line with the government directives on the prohibition of masquerades in Akwa Ibom State, I wish to inform you (all village heads) that all kinds of masquerades or masking activities are hereby prohibited with immediate effect. Violators of this order will be made to face the full weight of the law. Village heads are encouraged to advise their subjects to be law-abiding citizens and continue to embrace peace, which Ikono local government area in particular and Akwa Ibom State, in general, are known for”.

When contacted on phone, the Executive Chairman of Ikono local government area, Mr. Nyakno Okoibu who was reluctant to talk said that he does not speak to the media and that it is a security matter that does not require members of the public to know but noted that he has already granted an interview to electronic media such as AKBC, Inspiration FM, etc. It could be recalled that on the 27th of December, 2021, the Executive Chairman of Ikono local government area through his Press Secretary, Nsisong Ubong Ntuk issued a release and made available to Century Newsfront declaring full restriction on movement on persons and vehicles of all kinds from the hours of six in the evening and six in the morning. He noted that the declaration was, “to check, halt, stop or prevent cult-related activities, which has led to wanton killings of persons, looting of property, unfettered infiltration of miscreants, criminals and other undesirable elements into Ikono local government areas in recent time”.

In a swift reaction as to whether a local government chairman has the constitutional right to declare curfew in his local government, a legal practitioner and former Secretary of Etim Ekpo local government area, Barr. Sunday Ukanga noted that although it is not an outright power for a local government chairman to declare a curfew, observed that sometimes, necessity may create such a platform, “in order to maintain law and order in the local government, a sitting chairman can apply a doctrine of necessity and declare a curfew, especially where the governor could not be reached at that critical moment to make a proclamation”.

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