Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Nko/Oyadama Crisis: Nko Elders Issues Press Statement, Call for Help

Gentlemen of the press

We, as citizens of Nko community in Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State in Nigeria deem it necessary to call for this press conference to inform you of the happenings and havoc perpetrated by the Nigerian Army on our people.

While we appreciate the early intervention of the State Government and Security Agencies, particularly the Nigeria Army on the conflict between our community (Nko) and Onyedama community, we disagree with the way the crisis is being managed by the Army. Their approach is unethical and unprofessional.

While we support every responsible and meaningful effort towards maintaining lasting peace in the area, we call on the State Government and the military authority to stop the raid in Nko community.

We welcome the decision of the State Government to take over the parcel of land in question, Government should take adequate possession of the said land by using the land effectively so that further crisis may not arise.

As a community, we cannot and will never organize any form of conflict against anyone or group of persons.

We won't even contemplate any attack on the military. It is however, regrettable that this military action in the community has largely rendered the entire indigenes of Nko homeless, beginning from Saturday, June 24, 2022 to this moment.

Carnage has been exercised in arson, rape and shooting at sight of persons. Beyond these, our women have been thoroughly brutalized in very dehumanizing forms.

The security situation in Nko community has remained tensed and fragile. For more than five days running, many people have been killed through shooting at sight and a lot more wounded, properties that cannot be quantified at the moment have been destroyed.

The military personnel have wrecked havoc on the local populace, killing helpless persons, arresting some and introduced a reign of terror in the area.

Women and children have abdicated their
homes to take refuge in unknown locations, suffering the harsh effects of the associated weather with the rainy season.

While we are not challenging the authority of government, it is our candid opinion that the soldiers be stationed at the said boundary between the two communities. Our community is under siege.

The four secondary schools in Nko community are involved in ongoing NECO examination nationwide, the students as we are talking cannot go to school nor write the exams. This is appalling and would definitely have effect on our growing youths.

Our children generally, by this action have been denied their right to education as they cannot continue their learning in an unsafe environment.

There are some elderly and aged men and women, pregnant and sick people that have been abandoned in their homes devoid of care, because their care givers have fled from the community for their safety.

The elders are languishing and dying of hunger because there is no food, no water to drink and no body to take care of them for the past five days.

At this point, we the people of Nio remain very grateful to all the communities and individuals that have come to assist our suffering people.

We appreciate their benevolence and sense of love.
The Nigeria public is hereby requested to show empathy in form of providing welfare for the displaced homeless people.

We are therefore calling on International Organizations, Human Right Activists, NGOs the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, NEMA, SEMA and other bodies to come to our aid. We are crying aloud.

While we thank His Excellency, our amiable governor, Prof Ben Avade for his quick intervention and the action taken So far, we as a community are appealing and pleading that the military high command should please remove the prey personnel from Nko Community, the continuous stay of the military in the community will not help to bring peace to the area.

Thank you and remain blessed.

Recall that the lingering crisis between Nko community in Yakurr Local Government Area and Oyadama community in Obubra Local Government Area, both in Cross River State took a different turn few days back when men of the Nigerian Army allegedly killed, brutalised several indigenes of Nko while destroying and burning houses and properties, leaving the entire village in despair.

Unconfirmed report had it that the soldiers who came into the community for peacekeeping were attacked by members of the Nko community leaving some soldiers dead while others injured. This the report said, provoked the soldiers action on the community.

The Cross River State government in a bid to resolve the crisis had called for a seize fire, while revoking ownership of the said piece of land and stationing the army in Nko till the culprits are brought to book. 

The government also dethroned the Obol Lopon of Nko and the village head of Oyadama.