Tuesday, 30 September 2014

State of Emergency in Oron * Affected traders, ors cry for help, revolution looms

State of Emergency in Oron * Affected traders, ors cry for help, revolution looms

* Navy sacks residents, disrupts activities in Creeks
Government Area of Akwa Ibom State between the Nigerian Navy and the people of Idua Asang in Oron. As at the time of this report, business and other social activities have been paralysed in the community.  

The crisis, according to people of the area began over two weeks ago when the Nigerian Navy alleged that one of their men was killed. Though, the officer in question was kidnapped and allegedly murdered by Sea Pirates, who sources say have constituted a major menace to business in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

According to a source, the Sea Pirates have been maiming, robbing and committing all manner of atrocities in the waterways. “They steal from the women who transport goods to other states, do away with their hard-earned money and other valuable items yet, the government have done nothing about it”. He lamented. A stockfish seller in the market who displayed her goods by the roadside due to their eviction from their stores by men of the Nigerian Navy narrated that they were stopped from using the stores since last week.

However, the Navy officials forcefully extort money from them in a bid to control the fracas but to no avail. They have since taken to sporadic shooting and restricting movement of people to the beach and markets where their commercial activities thrive.

 The family Head of Idua Asang, Obong Edet Okon Ekpong, who bared his mind on the incident explained that the Navy men invaded the community, shooting indiscriminately and beating everyone in sight, leaving a number of casualties and victims. He expressed further that the result of their ignoble activities has caused great mishap to every sector of the community and has put fishing activities to a standstill.

The community leader expressed dissatisfaction that the Navy men have rather turned to harass the community instead of arresting the culprits who are at the fore of the problem.

When asked if they have reported the matter to any relevant agency, the community leader said they notified the marine police who made five arrests without probing the suspects for more information. He also said that the leader of Navy was contacted but he only asked them to go about their normal activities with the assurance that everything will be under control yet, nothing positive was been done to effect that. He noted that “if something is not done immediately, we will be forced to revolt.”

One of the affected traders who also expressed his mind on the turn of events expressed thus: “government is supposed to create an enabling environment for business to thrive because if there is no security, there is nothing like uncommon transformation. We are doing our legitimate business but we are beaten and battered and the government can’t pretend not to know about it because their agencies are with us. We are tax-paying citizens and we deserve to be protected by government. 

We appeal to the governor to assist us because that is the mandate we gave him.” Our on-the-spot assessment revealed that boats were not allowed to berth at the Oron Beach on the orders of Navy officials posted to the waterways. This, sources say has crippled their means of livelihood. The community have therefore called on government to come to their aid immediately to avert a full scale uprising.  However, pundits are of the opinion that the Navy has declared a state of emergency in Oron. Efforts to speak to the Navy leadership in Akwa Ibom State proved abortive as at press time.

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