Chief Medical Director of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Joseph Okegbe, is unhappy that the Usumutong and Ediba communities have thrown away age long relationships and commonalities, opting instead for hostilities that have resulted in the recent loss of lives over a piece of land he describes as “not fertile, (and one) that has been bastardized by subsistence farming over the years”.
Okegbe who spoke to www.calitown.com, on the heels of the on-going communal clash between both communities is also insisting that “there are some miscreants and chiefs in the Bahumono villages that are benefitting from this idiotic war” and sounds convinced that “these are the persons who should be identified and arrested and not the chiefs who may be hounded into detention in Afokang”.
Clearly, he points to the fact that the traditional institution is not capable of handling this situation because the youths and her leaders have very little respect for the institution. The CMD, cites an instance; “early last year, Ovai Edward who is an elder in the church was convinced by one or two pastors to bring down a crab statue in the village, that the statue was harbouring witches and wizards. After the statue was brought down, the youths attacked the chiefs and destroyed property worth millions of naira. Now, if the youths can cause such mayhem, don’t you see that the chiefs have no control over these youths?”
He emphatically maintains that “any war benefits no one. In 1978 when Ebom invaded Usumutong, I was an eye witness. When Ebom fought Ebijakara, I saw it first hand. When Nta Nselle(Ikom LGA) and Mbembe(Obubra LGA) fought, I also saw it and was even doing post mortem in the hospital in Ikom on a daily basis; I will say it over and over again, war has serious consequences and helps nobody. I can tell you as a Bahumono man that some people in the two communities are not sincere, the truth is not coming out. If I have the opportunity, I will tell government that she has not done well. Since both communities can’t agree on this piece of land, why can’t government invoke the Land Use Act and take up the piece of land so that both communities become trespassers thereafter, leaving this matter which started in 1917, finally resolved?
Finally Okegbe told www.calitown.com that, “if this skirmish is a prelude to peace, which is an expensive peace, let it be, but I do not think that we are going to allow this thing to continue. It is a very shameful thing”.
Unconfirmed reports say the clash which broke in the open last week, after www.calitown.com had over a one month period gathered and published information from impeccable sources, warning about a full blown communal clash, has so far accounted for the death of 18 persons.
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