Hon. Anthony Luke addressing IDPs with Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene

The Chairman of Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Anthony Luke has given insight on the recent security challenges in about nine communities of his council.

Addressing Internal Displaced Person’s (IDPs) from this nine communities accommodated at St Ann Cathedral, Ikot Ekpene, Civic Centre Atan, Ikot Okoro and St Brigid Parish, Urua Akpan.

IDPs camped at Catholic Churches

Hon. Luke blamed an unnamed dangerous criminal gang who he said “launched attacks on various security agents/agencies which have sadly resulted in the loss of lives of their personnel, even as the bandits carted away ammunitions.”

Giving a historic analysis, Hon. Luke said
“The rave by the gang which began in Essien Local Government Area on February 22, 2021, saw them attack a police patrol personnel and their vehicle at Ikpe Annang junction, along Ikot Ekpene – Uyo Road and a repeat of a similar havoc on the Nigerian Customs personnel at Nsasak junction, along Aba – Ikot Ekpene Road. Amongst other dastardly act, the hoodlums later set the Essien Udim Divisional Police Station at Nto Nsek ablaze in another insane round of unprovoked attack.”

He further said “By their criminal activities such as extortion, intimidation, robbery, and general abuse of the fundamental human rights of the people, the situation degenerated to a point that people were living in fear.”

Fast forward to the military invasion, Hon. Luke also known as Aluko said “Yesterday, a combined team of Military and other Security Agencies in the State conducted a clearance operation at Ntak Ikot Akpan to flush out the miscreants who have been perpetrating havoc in the Local Government Area. The operation, which deployed both land and aerial onslaught on the hoodlums and the hideouts by the security personnel, was very successful as the criminals were dislodged.”

“The nefarious activities of the hoodlums led to the displacement of people from their homes as lives and property across Essien Udim Local Government Area were unsafe.
Again, the military operations also sent shivers through the spines of the people, who for fear of being caught up in the cross-fires, have become displaced too.”

“About nine communities have been seriously affected while three are partially affected by the security situation. They include Ntak Ikot Akpan, Ukana Uwa, Ikot Udo Ekpat, Ikot Otu, Ikot Afangna, Nto Nsek, Ikot Abia, Ikot Ankan, Ikot Ukpong Etor, Ikot Ada Utor, Nsasak, and Ikot Akpan Essiet. The displaced persons from those villages are camped at St Ann Cathedral, Ikot Ekpene, Civic Centre Atan, Ikot Okoro and St Brigid Parish, Urua Akpan.”

“I have visited our displaced persons to encourage them, give them hope and assure them that they will be we catered for. Even as I sympathise with them over what has befallen them, especially in this planting season – as our people are predominantly farmers, is very unfortunate. Let me use this medium to express my deepest gratitude to the Catholic Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Dr. Camillus Umoh for his magnanimity. The Bishop has not only graciously offered accommodation in the Catholic Cathedrals for the internally displaced persons, but has also promised to partner the Council in taking care of the people until it is safe for them to return home.”

“The Council and indeed the State Government are working assiduously to ensure normalcy returns so that the displaced person can be back to their home soon even as we remain resolute and committed to the fight against criminality in the area, we will not stop until Essien Udim is safe for everyone.”

“On behalf of Council and the good people of Essien Udim, I condole the the Security agencies and the families over their loss of lives and properties as a result of this regrettable incident.”

“Please endeavour to volunteer every information, support, encouragement and prayers to help us restore as well as sustain sanity in the area even as you can be rest assured that our fruitful and strategic collaboration with Security agencies will continue.”

“I want to also appeal to our youths to shun violence and all form of antisocial activities and channel their energies into worthwhile productive ventures. “

God bless us all…