The council chairman of Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Hon Anthony Luke, is seeking for relief items for victims of Tuesday’s military onslaught on locations suspected to be enclaves of armed hoodlums loyal to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the local government area.
Hon Luke, yesterday, lamented that hundreds of local residents have been displaced by the military intervention.
He disclosed that the incident affected no fewer than 12 communities in his Essien Udim Council with hundreds of them scattered across three Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the neighbouring Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
Luke, therefore, appealed to governments at all levels, individuals, corporate organisations and donor agencies to lend their helping hands in calming the frayed nerves through welfare interventions.
Addressing the people of the council as the military action to dislodge the criminals ended noon on Tuesday, the chairman, popularly called ‘Aluko’, said the displaced persons are scattered in some Catholic Church’s facilities, including Saint Ann Cathedral, Ikot Ekpene, Saint Bridget Parish at Urua Akpan and Civic Centre at Atan Ikot Okoro.
He lamented that the unprovoked violence by the hoodlums targeted at security agencies, which started on February 22nd, 2021, with the gruesome murder of a policeman at Ikpe Annang junction, later snowballed into attacks on Customs checkpoint, razing of a section of a divisional police station and burning of another police officer in his house, forcing a joint military intervention by the military JTF.
“By their criminal activities such as extortion, intimidation, robbery and general abuse of the fundamental rights of the people, the situation degenerated to the point that people were living in fear”, he explained, adding that such desperation necessitated the forceful intervention of the military might to dislodge the criminals.
“The nefarious activities of the hoodlums led to the displacement of people from their homes as lives and properties across the Essien Udim Local Government Area were unsafe. Again, the military operations also sent shivers through the spines of the people, who, for fear of being caught in cross fire, have become displaced too”, he stressed.
However, he commended the Catholic Church Priest, Dr Camillus Umoh, for donating the facility to accommodate the displaced, as well as agreeing to help further in assuaging their feelings throughout their stay in the facility and urged individuals and donor agencies to follow suit.