Chieftaincy Tussle Tears CR Community Apart

Some injured Mkpani indigenes. Credit: I. Paul

We can reliably inform that in the last 72 hours, extreme violence has been unleashed in Mkpani, Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River Central, believed largely to be a fallout from a chieftaincy tussle which has seemingly refused to go away. Several lives have been lost while property worth millions of naira has been destroyed by contending forces who set cars, houses and livestock on fire.

Trouble started two weeks ago when some unidentified persons believed to be loyal to one of the two contending local chiefs, prevented the other faction from peacefully celebrating the annual new yam festival. Invited guests were even discouraged or barred from attending the event. Not to be outdone, the other faction responded by preventing too, as her own form of retaliation, the local “Obam” war dance and masquerade from setting its foot on some parts of Mkpani. Two persons were shot and killed on the spot, we were informed, triggering a violent chain of reactions that have since led to several indigenes of the area, deserting the place. At press time, can reveal too that a former councillor in the area, lost his private residence, burnt to the ground by a mob.

A visibly unhappy Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Eteng Williams, an indigene of the community, who spoke with very early this morning, maintained that he was deeply saddened by this unfortunate event. While a section of the community have tried to drag him into the conflict, William said he remains “saddened by whatever disagreements that have sown this discord and encouraged the attendant violence against my brothers and sisters. We cannot continue to embrace violence when other Yakurr communities are embracing peace and progress. Our people must understand that no community can develop in the midst of conflict, especially when it is self inflicted, I am suing for peace”. Asked to comment further, the Speaker said he has reached out to several men and women of goodwill in the state, in the hope that interventions will be carried out to restore calm to the area.

“Our community is torn between Obol Sunday and Obol Oden, the two traditional rulers supported by politicians who relentlessly flex muscles. When it suits them, they push their puppets into going up against each other. A community that has two contending traditional rulers will inevitably go to war. Men, women and children have deserted our community, for no fault of theirs, with no homes or property to return to. This is our painful lot and it is very sad”, one source in Mkpani maintained to us.

The state government has at press time responded by drafting soldiers to the area to quell the violence as the community counts her loses.

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