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Ikot Ansa community invade neighbors, destroys properties worth millions of naira


By Edem Edem,
Calabar

Ikot Ansa community has invaded their neighbors, Etab Ayip of Kasuk Qua Clan II and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.

The destroyed properties included palm trees, raffia palms and other economic trees and encroached into large portion of land.

The crisis in the disputed land was snowballing into a communal war if
not checked. It was gathered that a lot of palm wine tappers; palm oil millers who depend on the trees for their livelihood have been rendered jobless and hungry.

More than 2000 raffia palms and palm trees have been destroyed.

An eyewitness who gave his name as Agbo alleged that the people of Ikot Ansa believe they have money and can get away with anything including flouting court orders without minding the consequences because they can buy anyone including Judges and Magistrates.

Speaking to our reporter, the Clan Head of Kasuk IIQua Clan, Ntoe Edem Ayito
said he was not tired of waiting for the court which is the hope of the common man and he will not allow any of his subject to take the laws into their hands but lamented that the actions of the people of Ikot Ansa was an affront that can lead to communal clash.

“The people of Ikot Ansa are our neighbours, but they have made life
difficult by disobeying a court order restraining them from entering the swamp. For flouting an order restraining them from entering the swamp which was given in a suit No: HC/242/2017, our people sued them for contempt which they have also disobeyed.

“They have gone back to the place without minding that there was a matter instituted against them by Etab Ayip which centre on contempt, now they have destroyed another 2000 economic trees, I am a law abiding citizen, my subjects are responsible people, but I do not know how long me and my council of chiefs can stop our people from reacting.

“A number of arrests were made and the people who were arrested claimed they were sent by one Francis Effiom who is also facing a contempt charge as we speak, we hope that their action will not cause a bridge of peace in Calabar Municipal LGA because what they are doing to us through that swamp is a threat to our very existence.

Sadly, he said “More than 200 families depend on that swamp, a lot of people pay their children school feed from the proceeds from that swamp, that swamp is our own oil well, a lot of economic activities have halted because of the constant destruction of the source of
livelihood in my domain and we just don’t know how long we can bear
such.

Consequently, the destroyed item was valued at 140 million naira but they still went back to the said swamp land to cause more destruction, “We want to believe that the authorities are watching, they are aware because we reported the matter appropriately and two people were also arrested before the matter was later transferred to Police headquarters” the Ayito said.

“We are calling on the Gov. Ben Ayade, the Commissioner of police and heads of other security agencies to look into this matter before it degenerates into a communal clash that can lead to bridge of peace and loss of lives and property if not properly managed,” he lamented.

Reacting on the invasion, the counsel for Kasuk IIQua Clan, Barr Orchardson Umoh said the community was made up of thousand of youths who are vibrant, if Ikot Ansa people have shown such contempt for the law and court, as well as due process  by going into the swamp land then they are trying to bridge peace

“They went in there (swamp land) with nothing less than 40 thugs recently cutting down about 2000 palm trees including raffia. what do you expect my clients to do, wait till they die of starvation.

The people of Ikot Ansa without waiting for judgment, have shown no regard for the law and the court with their actions which is a complete disregard for the law, they are directly compelling my clients (Kasuk II Qua Clan) to take up arms to defend their property.

“We have shown that we are law abiding but their action is literally forcing us to take up arms and we can have an explosion of communal war. For now also we have relied on the police, the court. we have refused to use violence to protect the property, they are human, you may be able to restrain some members of the community because  you can’t restrain all, some individuals might decide to take arms to defend their property, even without the leadership knowledge.

“We want the police and the courts to take note because by the time, they decide to take up arms, you can imagine the lives and property that will be lost and affected, and we pray that government will intervene to avert this problem from degenerating into a communal war.

“Supposing the court decides that the place belongs to the people of Kasuk II Qua Clan with this kind of destruction, how will they now enjoy the judgment which they might eventually get, this is why all parties need to apply caution and wisdom to avert an impending danger,” Umoh submitted.

Interestingly, the Cross River Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwa has ordered for further investigation into the matter stressing that no one was above the law.

According to him, all those involved and the one arrested should be charged to court with immediate effect, as no single individual or community is bigger than the law.

“If it has been verified that there is a case of contempt already in court and all those arrested in the matter would be charged to court as soon as possible, as the police will not tolerate any form  of bridge of peace that can lead to loss of lives and property,” he warned.

Disappointingly, when our reporter made efforts to speak with the people
of Ikot Ansa, one of them Francis Effiom said that they have no knowledge of whatever destruction that was going on in the area adding that they matter was already in court.
Nigeria Police Force 343390798243921875

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