Thousands flee village as communal clash rages


By, VITALIS UGOH, Calabar.
About three thousand persons in Busi community in Obanliku local government of Cross River have deserted their homes following an invasion by its neighboring communities over land dispute.
At the moment, the internally displaced people are presently camping at the Divisional Police Station, Sankwala, the council headquarters.
According to eye witness account, their situation is dehumanizing as they lacked spaces to sleep, no water, food and medication.
Sources close to the council headquarters said the population comprises of women and children.
The entire villagers fled the community about a week ago following the invasion and destruction of over five hundred houses.
Meanwhile, the internally displaced persons who looked disillusioned and traumatised sleep in the open, exposing both women and children to inclement weather.
Reports had it that women and children were infected with diseases such as pneumonia, influenza, malaria, cholera and other ailments.
Our correspondent who visited the community reported that the community is deserted and lies in total ruin as all the houses have been burnt and farms destroyed.
Speaking to our Correspondent, a community leader, Mr. Emma Okobere said that the dastardly behaviour was carried out by neighboring communities of Busi one, two, three, five and six over land dispute.
He said the dispute, which had remained with them over the years, had five times gotten court judgement in favour of the Busi four community.
Okobere alleged that it was worrisome that the law enforcement agents have refused to make arrests even when the invaders were clearly identified and reported to the police.
Also commenting on the issue, the chairman of the village council, Mr Cyprian Udem said that though no life was lost “everything about their livelihood have been destroyed and called for government’s urgent intervention”.
A community youth, Mr Francis Obi narrated that the invaders attacked them in the evening causing everyone to flee the village into the bush where many of them spent about three days.
Narrating the incident, Hajiya Aishatu Umaru, described the situation as pathetic and called for urgent intervention by the relevant authorities regretting that they cannot return to the village until safety is guaranteed.
Assessing the disaster alongside the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Zonal Coordinator, South-South, the Director- General, Cross River State Emergency Management agency (SEMA) Mr.  John  Inaku, attributed the crisis  to lack of patience and understanding and vehemently condemned the act.
The NEMA Zonal Coordinator, South-South, Mr. Eze Major described the disaster as uncivilized and unwarranted and wondered why the issue could not be amicably resolved instead of resorting to wanton destruction of property.


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