Former militants from Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo Local Governments of Akwa Ibom State numbering more than 500 are being mobilised by a top chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, ahead of the 2023 elections.
The PDP chieftain, believed to be eyeing a seat in the National Assembly, was said to have met the former militants in his country home, where he sought their cooperation and support as he prepares for the election.
The gathering of the ex-militants is already causing panic in the two local governments. The natives said they were worried that the same people who caused mayhem in the land were being re-assembled and patronised by the politician.
The former militants who landed the spacious home of the aspirant in more than 50 buses were drawn mainly from Etim Ekpo, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun, as well as Rivers State.
The source told TNN that the boys were mainly members of the dreaded Icelanders and Debam Confraternity which were among the 65 cult groups proscribed by Akwa Ibom State government in March 2020.
A close source at the meeting who confided in TNN said the meeting kicked off about 7 p.m. and lasted till 11 p.m. and remained a guarded secret as resolutions reached between the senatorial and the militants was not made public.
The source told this newspaper that that the politician who brought the ex-militants gave each of them N20,000 for transport, apart from other support he gave to them.
‘’It is baffling that an aspirant would identify himself with people who are associated with various crimes- rapes, robbery, kidnapping and gruesome murder- in some local government areas of the state.
‘’What is he is doing amounts to desperation. He feels he can take over the power by force, hence the mobilization of the militants to unleash mayhem on his supposed enemies and opponents.
“Power belongs to God and He gives whomever He wishes. After using the boys for election, will he be able to maintain them? This is the bane of the cult crisis that usually rocks the areas.’’
The same politician had been fingered in sponsoring and assisting one dreaded militant- Overcomer- who was beheaded by rival cult group in 2021. The militant killed many, wrecked havocs in different villages and set many houses ablaze.
More than three years, the militants terrorized Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun resulting in the arson, rapes, kidnapping and deaths of many, closure of primary and secondary schools as well as markets. They forced many indigenes of the affected villages to flee and abandon their homes to neighbouring communities.