Contrary to speculation that the December 2 local government election in Ukanafun will be conducted at Mopol base in Uyo, the local government transition chairman, Elder Israel Ideh has assured the Akwa Ibom State independent Electoral Commission of peaceful and orderly conduct of the council poll in Ukanafun, as over 360 criminals have been arrested for peace to return to the area.
Ideh who recounted various successes recorded by security operatives in Ukanafun told TNN that the most wanted criminal in the area popularly known as “Iso Akpafit” was on the run to a neighbouring state, while members of his gang were cooling off at the state police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
The council chairman who was visibly impressed with the performance of the troop in Ukanafun, comprising brigade commander of the second brigade of Nigeria, garrison commander of the second brigade of Nigerian army, the major commanding the troop that control the security team in Ukanafun, OrukAnam, Ikot Abasi, Etim Ekpo, and Ika council areas, Mohammed Hussaini ,as well as the grand commander of the troop in Ukanafun , Abdulahi Salahu, for bringing their military experiences to bare in the volatile situation in the area, which he said had recorded huge successes.
The council boss further commended the Nigerian police force led by inspector general of police Ibrahim Idris, the commissioner of police in AkwaIbom, ZubairuMauzu, the head of operations of Nigerian police, Ikot Akpan Abia and the divisional police officer in Ukanafun, for their various role in maintaining peace and order such that normalcy was restored in Ukanafun which was abandoned due to activities of hoodlums.
Ideh who is from the same village as the wanted terrorist, commended the security team for their strategic positions at different checkpoints at Nkek, Okoyo, and Ikot Unah, where activities of the criminals were concentrated. H e confirmed that community policing idea of the state police command had helped to chase the hoodlums out of the area.
Ideh further narrated how a young girl who attended the funeral of her mother at Okoyo village was molested and raped by the criminals but was rescued by the security team while he later ordered for the treatment of the girl at a hospital in Uyo.
Ideh told TNN that though he comes from the same village with the most wanted criminal Iso Akpafit, he would assist the security operatives to arrest him to face the full wrath of the law and warned politicians from embarking on propaganda to drag his name into the mud on the fact that he was using the criminal for politics.
He recalled the criminal antecedence of Iso Akpafit whose real name was given as Akaniyene Udo Uko, who sacked the entire village of Ikot Ibekwe in 2013, following his misunderstanding with the village head over missing electrical parts that was meant for electrification of Ikot Ibekwe village.
He said Iso Akpafit deployed his gang members from Rivers and Bayelsa states to terrorize the entire village, sending all villagers on exile but he (Ideh) intervened and brought normalcy to the community and promised the state electoral umpire that election would be conducted in Ukanafun without any molestation from anybody.
Ideh told TNN that the security men in the area had foiled a robbery attack at Ikot Udo Obobo last week and commended the police for their timely intervention to any criminal attempt in the area.
In a telephone interview, the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, told TNN that over 360 youths have been arrested including the bishop of Christ Faith Powerful church who was apprehended for kidnapping, robbery, and cult-related offenses in the area.
The police spokesman further told TNN that the gang leader in Ukanafun was at large and had been declared wanted by the police. He said all the gang members were in police custody while others have been charged to court.
The PPRO assured the public that peace had returned to Ukanafun permanently to allow for free conduct of the planned council pool in the state.