Monday, 17 August 2020

Contextualising Odukpani 14 Minutes Horror Video Vis-a-vis Cannibalism —by Efio-Ita Nyok

17 August 2020

Diary of an African Blogger 
Page 44

There's a trending video which got leaked last week into the cyberspace dominated by Cross Riverians. It is a 14 minutes horror video featuring one Okon Asuquo who's reportedly 31 years of age and hails from Odukpani in Cross River state. 

According to George Odok Jnr of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Asuquo has been arrested by the police alongside an unidentified accomplice whom he reports is Asuquo's diabolical assistant.

While describing the content of the horror video, Crossriverwatch alleges that ten adult men were featured in the footage with two dismembering two dead victims. CRW has observed that the circumstances which must have led to the death of the dismembered individuals is yet to be known as at press time. This will be what this thread will be addressing ultimately. I'm not keen about debates denying and affirming the cannibal status of the Odukpani people. 

I have seen the video footage and for all purposes and intents, whatever the content of that footage represents is totally condemnable! Albeit, I will fill the void surrounding the video which the press in Cross River is yet to address —the circumstances of death of the victims. Follow me in this speculative journey. 

If you listen to the audio of the video footage, you'll hear statements made in Efik dialect stringed thus: 'ekòng ódo edi emi...eye dí commander? Se eye mi... commander edi emi.'(This is the warrior, is he the commander? This is the commander'); '...Mkpa inuen dó, esio mkpa inuen odo (There is a diabolical ring, you guys should remove the diabolical ring.)', 'Se mkpo, bullet obom eye mi oo, aha, edi too near, akani oo, obufa...'(look at, a bullet must have busted him around here ooo, it's a close range, it's old bullet wound Ooo, it's a new bullet wound.)', 'Ikaha ekong fad (he has never gone to a war at all)'. From the above transalations/transliterations, you could garner that the circumstances which may have surrounded the death of the dismembered individuals in the video footage may be indirectly reflecting a communal crisis situation. 

I'm a leading member of a civil society group which prides itself as one of the biggest peace building organisations in the Niger Delta region. The name of the CSO is Partners 4 Peace in the Niger Delta, P4P. Presently, we are conducting an 8-month long peace project/ intervention in the troubled Mbiabo community in Odukpani in Cross River vis-a-vis Oku Iboku in Itu LGA in Akwa Ibom. The Cross River chapter of the P4P is dealing with the Mbiabo communities while our counterpart in Akwa Ibom is handling the Oku Iboku community. We're at the nascent stage of the intervention, we just finished community mapping, had a CSO dialogue and conducted baseline information. Eventually, at the end of the project, we aim at reducing the age-long communal crisis between Oku Iboku in Itu, Akwa Ibom and Mbiabo in Odukpani, Cross River by 10%.

I want to bring to your notice that there is an ongoing silent lethal communal war between Mbiabo community in Odukpani in Cross River and Oku Iboku in Itu in Akwa Ibom over land boundary issues of the which the Cross River side has gained legal victory to her favour even to the apex Supreme Court in 2005. Arguably, the Akwa Ibom side is refusing to acknowledge the numerous court judgements against her dating as far back as 1913 until 2005 which sites the boundary between the sister states at middle of the River Cross (I have been privy to the courts judgements). 

From my field experience with the affected communities, it's the conviction of Mbiabo people in Cross River that the government especially the state government has not been keen about their security and welfare. Already, since the last significant onslaught against them by the belligerent Iboku people as far back as early 2000s they've been internally displaced persons sparsely  littered in some locations across Calabar the Cross River state capital. According to them, successive civilian state governments including Governors Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and the incumbent Ben Ayade have paid deaf ears and blind eyes to their plight. 

The 14 minutes horror video may be understood within the context of my explanations. It's high time the state governments of Cross River and Akwa Ibom intervened in the cold crisis going on between Iboku Vs Mbiabo communities. There are other serious similar communal crisis ongoing in Biase, Abi and all the 18 LGAs of C/River excluding Calabar South and Calabar Municipality which the state government must attend to. This is the time to resolve the war once and for all. This is a clarion call. 

Efio-Ita Nyok 
Calabar, 17th August 2020 

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