Chairman of the Ekureku Vigilante in the Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State, Mr Fidelis Nkata has described as untrue, information circulating on the social media, about the banishment of some of the natives for allegedly testifying at the elections tribunal in Calabar. Nkata told TNN over the telephone that contrary to the false information, the community decided to punish those who flouted the community’s instruction for them to get involved in community work. According to him, a certain person whose name he gave as Egbe was listed for punishment for not taking part in the sanitation works in and around the community. Specifically, he said Egbe’s father engaged his vigilante boys in a fight, leading to the injury of one for the vigilante boys. He said the injured vigilante person was receiving medical attention in the hospital. According to Nkata, it was the tradition of the Ekureku people to either flog or collect fine from any defaulter once anybody failed to get involved in the community labour.
Nkata said it was not true that anybody was banished from the community for testifying at the tribunal. He said he was not even aware that people were going to the tribunal to testify. According to him, the matter had since been reported to the police in the area and that the police had visited the place in respect of the face-off. A few days ago, some online publications reported that some Ekureku people were banished for going to testify at the tribunal case involving a member of the House of Representatives, Dr Alex Egbona and the immediate past speaker of the house of assembly, Mr John Gaul Lebo. Nkata was even listed among those who were involved in the banishment saga, an allegation that roundly denied, insisting that there was no reason to banish anybody from the community. He urged politicians in the state not to do anything that will provoke bad blood between the Ekureku and Adadama people. Egbona is from Ekureku while Gaul is from Adadama. Recently, Egbona has been speaking of his commitment to the restoration of peace between Adadama and some warring Ebonyi communities on one hand, and the Ekureku and Ebonyi communities on the other hand. He commended Egbona for his interest in resolving the crisis between Ekureku and the neighbouring Ebonyi State and urged Gaul to join hands with Egbona to bring peace into the area. Nkata said apart from Egbe, the community had a list of other defaulting youths who failed to participate in the community work and would be made to face the wrath of the community, saying none of them will go unpunished.
To him, the allegations of people being banished may have been peddled by the defaulters as a way of attracting the sympathy of the public. He insisted that the chiefs of Ekureku were committed to ensuring that the long standing law was obeyed by all.