Emmanuel Oko Ogar|18 January 2017
It is a commonplace above controversy that one of the foremost universally acclaimed responsibilities of any legitimate government is the protection of her territorial integrity which includes but not limited to lives and properties.
Man from ages past has known war and his existence has been constantly antagonized by his induced actions and involuntary or deliberate actions. Like in other land and climes where peace is fundamentally embraced close to the heart, ours in Cross River State is the negation of that norm.
Peaceful coexisting is what is obtainable in some of our neighbouring states. Once again, ours is the reverse.
From verifiable history available to the blind and deaf, our state has long before now witnessed communal clashes. But to many dismay, these rattles have not towered into unprecedented record and height as there are now since the enthronement of Gov. Ben Ayade as the political leader of Cross River State.
When peace is threatened by the will of prejudice; fan by the amber of ethnic hatred and tribal inferiority complex, war is inevitable. Hence, the war in some communities in the state and Obudu where the governor hails from.
Few days ago, I was on a political voyage to one of the oldest local government areas in Nigeria, Obubra for the inauguration of the Young Democratic Party, YDP wards executives. In appalling consternation, I saw the concomitant aftermath of war. Investments and homes of people made a beautiful heaps and ridges of debris. That part of Nko is a perfect example of a ravaged and ruined locale.
The news is everywhere that about 5 days now, Obudu LGA is in turmoil due to the communal clash between Kutia the country home of Ben Ayade and Ukpe. Last time, it was Kutia versus Ukwortung.
What is the remote cause of this war between these two communities? Intelligence reports suggested that the rancor started on Thursday being 12th of this month, January 2017 when villagers from the communities mentioned above went to harvest bush mango allegedly belonging to the Ukpe clan. During that process, an innocent Ukpe man who was returning from where he went to get drugs for his sick child was attacked. That incident triggered the full-scale of the bloody bang currently ongoing.
Reliable sources informed the writer that with the political might of the Kutians and their supporters, expected an easy victory against the Ukpepeople, but when the Ukpe people proved a hard nut to crack, their collaborators turned their anger on Ukwortung alleging that it was them that was fighting them and not the Ukpe because according to them, Ukpe people do not have what it takes to withstand them.
One disturbing and curious fact is, the security personnel deployed to quell the conflict between the warring clans were surprisingly stationed in the three locations in Ukwortung land that has nothing to do with the war. Ukwortung are complaining of the molestation of their people doing lawful business by the coercive apparatus of the state.
Recall that sometime last year, Chiefs from Ukwortung were humiliated in Calabar by agent of government. Is this a sign that there is a collaboration between the law enforcement agents, state government and the power that be to fight the Ukwortung people?
Another source equally hinted that the clan head of Igwo vehemently and allegedly vaunted that all the efforts by the Paramount Ruler of Obudu to bring peace were waste of time and that the time of peace has passed. The source continued that he as well said that Utukalu, Ukwortung and Ukpe people should be ready to receive what will come upon them.
The writer gathered from Obudu last Friday that, an Ohong man who was carrying ammunition to go deliver to his kinsmen on the battle front was apprehended by the people of Ukwortung at about 1:30am and was handed over to the police for interrogation. Logically, if it is true that Ukwotung were the ones waging war against Kutia, what must have informed them to handover the Ohong man they caught to the police?
However, it has been confirmed that this conflict did not start today. It began when this generation continuing in fueling it were yet to be birthed. War is never a proper and best way to resolve dispute. The people that started it may have all died by now and it is incumbent on this generation to give peace a chance. They must look for a better way of settling this matter.
We all understand that war only bring short-term peace. At the long run, it resulted to spiral chains of unending commotion. Let the Ukwortung, Kutia, UKpe, Ohong or Begiading people never be deceived, war doesn’t pay. Whatever that is the bone of contention should be let go and let peace reign supremely.
The government of Cross River State must not be bias in handling this issue. Let Ayade go home and talk to the warring clans in their native languages. He should do so with absolute decorum and be just to all parties concerned irrespective of consanguine affinity and tribal sentiment. Ayade is the governor of the entire state and not the governor of a particular clan.
Emmanuel Oko Ogar
Is a Social Commentator
Is a Social Commentator