Updated List Of Wanted Terrorists Coming –CP, … Ateke: Come To Okrika For Wanted Terrorists If... Indications emerged during the weekend that a former governor of Akwa Ibom State and currently the senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio prompted the state governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel to arise and take decisive actions that led to the military occupation in some local governments in the state.
Before now, there has been the belief that the governor had not been properly briefed on the belly-aching insecurity situation in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo. In Ukanafun for example, it was learnt that even the chairman, Mr Uko Idiong could not access the governor to inform him about the frustrating security hiccups in his domain.
Last week, according to insider sources, Akpabio's attention was drawn to the current situation by a native of Ukanafun who pleaded for his intervention. Akpabio was told to talk to the governor about the situation and why he should work towards the deployment of soldiers to many parts of the local government.
Before now, high security presence was only noticed around Ikot Oku Usung. But towards the end of last week, a combined team of soldiers, SSS, the police and the Navy were deployed in Ukanafun. One of the villagers told TNN that “it was after Akpabio's meeting with Udom that the miracle happened.”
The source said the council chairman was later invited to a meeting same day with the governor, where he gave the governor first hand information for the first time, on teh situation of things in his local government.
It was at that point that the decision to deploy the joint security team was taken. As at Monday, it was learnt that while the naval personnel had taken over the sea routes into Ukanafun from the Rivers State axis, secret policemen were also combing the area for the militants whose activities have forced scores of the villagers to flee their homes.
At Anwa Uyo Junction, Ikot Udo Obobo village where the militants had burnt residential houses, shops and raided markets, the soldiers stationed there may have prevented further attacks by the militants.
This had been the demand of the villagers in the last two months. The villagers had drawn the attention of the governor and the police high command to the implications of leaving the junction without a tight security presence.
The combined security team are already making tremendous harvests. It was learnt that nine of the militants were killed in a gun duel last week, around the Ikpe Annang axis. A burial ceremony also held peacefully in Ikot Udo Obobo on Saturday, without the militants' trying to get ransom from the bereaved family.
At Ikot Udo Mbang penultimate week, the militants had kidnapped a corpse on its way from the mortuary. They did not release it for burial until about 5pm when the family was able to pay ransom to them.
Police commissioner in the state, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi would not want to confirm directly to TNN, that nine of the militants were killed. But he told TNN over the telephone on Sunday night that security operatives had taken over Ukanafun, especially the flashpoints, and that so many gains had been recorded.
He pleaded with the villagers to provide information to the police that can lead to the arrest of all those declared wanted(see the table showing the wanted militants). He also said an updated list of the wanted terrorists would be made in the course of the week, as more names are received.
The commissioner vowed to restore peace in Ukanafun and sought the support and cooperation of all the natives.
Ateke counsels Operatives to visit Okrika for Fleeing militants if....
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Okochiri, Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, HRH Ateke Tom has said that security operatives are free to come to Okrika to grab suspected hoodlums if they are sure that there may be militants hiding in the area.
His media aide, Ifeanyi Ogbonda told TNN in a telephone interview that he was not sure that militants had fled Akwa Ibom to take refuge in Okrika. But he added that anybody was free to visit Okrika to get the militants if they were sure.
He reiterated the belief of his boss in peace, saying although Ateke fought with arms in the past, he had since renounced that strategy as a means to peace. He said the traditional ruler was much more committed to intellectual battle for development instead of fighting with the gun.
Akpabio committed to peace in Ukanafun, Etim Ekpo-Aide
Meanwhile, media aide to Akpabio, Mr Anietie Ekong has spoken on the role the senator has been playing in an effort to restore peace in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo Local Governments. Akpabio is seen as the political leader of the Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.
Ekong told TNN over the telephone on Monday that Akpabio has been disturbed by the lingering crisis in the local governments and has been meeting the various stakeholders from the areas. He said although he did not have full knowledge of Akpabio's role during the latest military intervention, “I know he has been involved in making sure that peace returned to the region.
He has met several stakeholders and has made several prepositions, all in a bid to restore peace to the region. You remember last December, during the Udo Ekpenyong saga, it was in the process that he said he can meet some of the stakeholders to ensure that peace returns.”
But the chief press secretary to Udom, Mr Ekerete Udoh would not want to comment on the issue, on the grounds that it was purely a security matter, which he lacked the powers to talk about.