11 Sep 2013

Residents flee as youths wreak havoc on communities

 Some  residents  fleeing  the  villages
Some residents of Mbo Island villages of Ute Brama, Utan Effiong, Ibot Utan, Mbendoro and Inua Abasi in Akwa Ibom State say they have fled the communities as many houses in the villages have been set ablaze.

Those who could rescue some of their property were seen carrying mattresses, stoves, drinking bowls, and other items on Tuesday.

The youths of the areas were said to have resorted to violence to protest against two prominent leaders of the communities who allegedly deprive the villages of the oil revenue meant for development of the areas.

The residents, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on Tuesday, said the violence in affected communities started last week.

A resident of Ute Brama, Mrs. Nkoyo Effiong, said the violence in the five communities had become frequent, adding that a violent protest like that happened last year.

She said she had lost all her possessions in the fire started by the protesting youths.

She said, “I am tired of staying in Ute Brama. I don’t think I will ever go there again. I have lost all that I had. The youths stole three bags of crayfish, money and telephones before setting my house ablaze.

“Last year, I suffered the same fate. And one thing I noticed is that when it gets to certain period of the year, crisis would begin and residents will lose their property to inferno.”

Another resident, Mr. Asuquo Okpo, a fisherman, said his fishing nets had been burnt, while his canoe was damaged.

He said he also lost outboard engine, money and other valuables, totaling N7.3m.

A youth leader in one of the areas, who pleaded anonymity, said the protest was not to cause damage to the communities but to send strong messages to the communities’ leaders.

He said, “We have been deprived for a very long time by the two prominent leaders of the Effiat communities who have been diverting the oil revenue meant for our development.

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