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A’Ibom, C’River Communal Clashes: GOC 82 div visits scene; warns against Re-Occurrence; Tasks Stakeholders on Peace

Barely hours after the latest communal clash between the people of Oku Iboku Community of Akwa Ibom State and Ikot Effiong in Odukpani, Cross Rivers state, that left more than 10 persons dead and properties damaged, the General Officer Commanding 82 division, Nigerian Army has warned security agencies, traditional and community leaders against a repeat of such clashes.
“I was here on 21 January 2017; I am here again today for similar reason. This should not be allowed to happen again, we must show more commitment and concern and immediately evolve a workable solution to this perennial crisis that apparently requires more of a political than military solution”,  the GOC said.
Gen Abubakar who spoke at a meeting he held with heads of security agencies and traditional rulers at the weekend during a visit to a scene of communal crisis charged them to be more committed and proactive and not to allow a repeat of “this obnoxious incident.”
According to a statement by Col Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, the visit to the scene was aimed at seeing things for himself and unraveling the causes of the conflict, the damage and destruction committed by the warring parties and to consult with the traditional and religious leaders including youths of the areas, with the view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
The GOC was conducted round the areas affected by the conflict, where a Police Out post, some houses, shops and vehicles were torched, or vandalized.
The GOC directed the Commander 2 Brigade to liaise with the 2 states governments for an all inclusive stake holders meeting possibly on Saturday 19 February, 2017.
General Abubakar made it clear that security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army, will attend the meeting only in observatory capacity.

The GOC was accompanied on the visit by Commissioners of Police AKwa Ibom and Cross Rivers States Mr. Don Awunah and Mohammed Hafiz respectively, as well as the State Directors of Security, for Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers States.
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Moses Ekpo, briefed the meeting on the causes of the conflict between the two warring communities.
Ekpo wondered why people living together peacefully for decades will now resort to and embrace this tragedy.
He said, “To us in Akwa Ibom State, it is a matter of great concern. As a government, we have done our part of talking to the other faction, with the view to dialogue and address the thorny issues.
However, commensurate willingness from the other side appears to be lacking”… We had also arranged a meeting with the other side when the crisis erupted in December 2016 and in January 2017, but, received a message that it has been cancelled.
He therefore appealed to the GOC to arrange a meeting of all stakeholders for us to resolve this matter. He thanked the GOC, the heads of security present and all the security personnel deployed to contain the crisis for their concern and extra sacrifices to the nation.
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