As peace gradually returns to Ukanafun, the Akwa Ibom local government that was hijacked by militants for close to two years, church leaders in the area are now jubilating.
The church leaders are excited that at last, those who fled their homes in the wake of the hostilities that forced the natives to flee to neighbouring villages are beginning to return home, signalling the resumption of academic, economic and religious activities in the area.
The church leaders, under the canopy of Ukanafun Christian Elders Forum, (UCEF), and the Ukanafun chapter of the Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly (ACA), expressed the hope that the local government will no longer experience such dark days of militancy.
Vice president of the forum and prelate of Rapture Trust Ministry International, Bishop Moswill Umoh said in a statement that his people were excited to see that peace had returned to the land.
Umoh, the immediate past chairman of the Ukanafun chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), and a one-time chapter chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, at a special thanksgiving service arranged by the Elders Forum and ACA, was quoted as having expressed appreciation to the governor, Udom Emmanuel for granting amnesty to the militants.
“Innocent people were killed in droves; businesses became comatose; schools were shut; responsible householders abandoned their homes for strange lands and in fact, there was a general atmosphere of insecurity for the past two years. Alas! When all hopes failed, our God used his servant, Governor Emmanuel, a deacon of the church, to redeem the land,” Umoh stated.
He said there was an urgent need to rehabilitate the repentant militants, noting that they were ready to partner the government to achieve great results.
He appealed to all the indigenes who fled their homes to return by faith to the land and “help build a new Ukanafun of our dream.”
Others who spoke at the session, including a patron of the Christian Elders, Elder Marak Ibekwe, the village head of Ikot Etim, Chief Fabian Udo Okure, Reverend Brown Brown,
Reverend Mfon Abara, Pastor Aniefiok Abraham, Elder Sampson Udoudo, Elder Elijah Akpan and Deaconess Anwanaobong Udoudo, commended Governor Emmanuel for coming to their rescue and pledged to mobilise others to return him to the Hilltop Mansion for a second term.