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Tension in Akwa Ibom as security groups clash at government function

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Akwa Ibom State may be heading back to the path of insecurity if the security threat currently popping is not promptly arrested and treated.

Two rival security groups suspected to be cult groups, and both in black engaged each other in a free for all fight at the inauguration of the new secretariat complex of the People’s Democratic Party, disrupting, creating tension during the weekend event.

The pandemonium which defiled efforts by  men of the Nigeria police  force, our correspondent observed, started  when Governor Udom Emmanuel’s entourage arrived the  new PDP Secretariat with the National  chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.

When the gate of the party House was opened for the governor and his guests, a group of heavily body built young men identified as “Body_Body” forced their way into the venue of the event in defiance of the Government security team known as “Only God”.

Fight ensued as the “Only God” group owned by the state government tried to send the ” Body _ Body group out of the arena  while the rival group gave some blows to some of the “Only God” gang members. Further annoyed by the public embarrassment, the “Body – Body ”  retreated and regroup for a reprisal  attack at the end of the commissioning ceremony.

It was gathered that  government protocol team which  got wind of the threat, immediately arranged for the evaquation of the ” Only God” security team leaving other guests  to scramble  for safety.

Other guests at the ceremony who earlier  sensed the danger however left after the tape into the building was cut and the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus were being taken round the interior of the Secretariat.

Recall that  Akwa Ibom State Government had in March 2018 proscribed cultism in the state, a situation which, according to the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, generated ripples among prominent politicians in the state, whom he said had begged the governor to reconsider his stance.

Nwoko who interacted with newsmen few weeks after the initial proscription said some of the politicians have approach Governor Udom Emmanuel requesting that he rescind the proscription order as some of the cultists could be useful to the governor during the last election. But the governor in response denounced any victory that may come from efforts of cultists.

In March 2020, the state government repeal the 2018  Anti Cultism law  and came up with a new law titled ” Cultism and Other violent Prohibition order.” The new law identified and proscribed 51 cult groups in the state.

The last Saturday fight for supremacy between two seemingly private security outfits, strongly suspected to be cult groups and one working closely with Government appears to have painted a picture of compromise of the law on the part of the state government and other key government functionares in the state.

Checks by our correspondent revealed that these two groups are not among the list of registered private security companies in Nigeria though they have always provided security at every function organized by the Akwa Ibom State government.

Concerned persons in the state have alledged that  members of these unofficial security outfits are those the government in power used during elections, and are mostly known cultists, criminals and so-called repentant militants.

Their presence is always notable during the Akwa Ibom State Christmas Choral event and other ceremonies.

State Commandant of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, which has the statutory responsibility to register private security outfits, Mr. Samuel Fadeyi, who spoke with newsmen, when contacted  said  that he was not sure of the registration of the groups and promised to give an answer on Monday.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, retired Captain Iniobong Ekong who was also contacted said that he was on an official assignment in Abuja.

Ekong asked to be given time to make calls to Uyo, and promised to call back, but as at the time of filing this report, he was yet to call.

Led by Mr. Felix Ekuri, who was identified as an aide to Governor Emmanuel Udom and PDP Youth Mobiliser in the state, the Only God boys seem to have enjoyed much patronage from the state government. (Daily Independent)

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