NWANIBA CULT CLASHES: WILL THERE EVER BE AN END?
For three days, these deadly young cruel persons demonstrated outrageous bravery, combing out the communities around Anua, Ekpri Nsukara, Use Offot, Akamba Nsukara, down to Uruan LGA, causing mayhem and killing perceived cult rivals in a war of supremacy Innocent pedestrians were also cut down by these bloodthirsty demons wielding axes, machetes, guns and clubs without any restraint. These scenarios have now become perennial.
The immediate cause of the latest disturbance of public peace and safety of residents has been linked to attempts by rival cult gangs to take over control of local motor parks toll collection in Uruan. That move was said to have been resisted by the rival cult group; sparking the violence.
The rate of speed at which it spread beyond Uruan to other areas is still the subject of investigation by the police. Some disgruntled elements were accused of sponsoring the cult boys – giving them the bravery to walk the streets in broad daylight, causing mayhem.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko Macdon, fighting for dominance by rival cult groups has always resulted in violence and killings. “The cult clash is always a fight for supremacy, one group trying to show that they are better than the other, one group trying to establish dominance. So long as we have people belonging to bodies or associations that have been proscribed by subsisting laws, definitely we will continue to have these perennial clashes,” he said.
Commenting on this, a street apostle, Idy Uworufin, author of Understanding Cultism, who has been campaigning against cultism in the schools and communities in Akwa Ibom State, observed that the festering cult activities stemmed mostly from motor parks because these parks provide easy access to school dropouts who hang around as touts, then linked up with park managers who hire them as loading and ticketing agents and in the process, violence usually break out as each cult groups struggle to dominate business at the parks.
Uworufin urged government agencies to rescind from hiring out motor park management to people of questionable character. He stressed that since the government has banned cultism in all disguises, representatives of government placed with responsibility over youths and security at public functions should deploy formal security agencies.
Despite efforts of government to rein in cult activities, clashes still occur in Nwaniba axis of Uyo. When shall we see the end to these clashes, which are inimical to the peace the state has enjoyed? For now, peace in the affected areas remains fragile. Palpable fear of reprisals from rival cult group still pervades the air.
However, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko Macdon. Reviewing the situation, said: “It’s unfortunate that situations like this happen perennially. We’ve had situations like that over time and it’s really unfortunate.”
He put the blame on parents who have failed to impact godly virtues in their children and wards. His words: “There is a gap that needs to be bridged; we need to tell ourselves the truth that cultism must not be and we need to go back to the root and ask ourselves, how did we get here? We need to change our thinking and start raising our children right. Biblically, it is said that when we train up a child the way he should go when the child grows up he won’t depart from it.”
Acknowledging the difficulties security operatives face in contending cultism, he urged all peace-loving citizens to join the fight against cultism. “For us to get it right, all hands must be on deck. The persons involved in these dastard acts need to turn a new leaves because it is not taking us anywhere, it is not progressive but rather retrogressive.”
The PPRO assured the police will be on top of the matter. “At Akwa Ibom State Command, we’ve never rested on this; we’ve said no resources will be too much to deploy in order to ensure that we can have a peaceful society. So far, we’ve put in our best, by the grace of God we’ve been able to restore normalcy by timely intervention. We are still monitoring to ensure that the people of Nwaniba and Nsukara communities can live peacefully and go about their normal businesses.” He, however, hopes efforts by police will forestall future reoccurrence. “Our intelligence gathering mechanism and our interface with people have paid off. We’ve been able to liaise with stakeholders and ensure that we can leverage on the subsisting peace. We’ve also called on government, we interface with relevant government agencies to see that we can strengthen subsisting roles and see that those apprehended are brought to book.”