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Gov Ayade Suspends Traditional Rulers In Height Of Communal Clash, Demands Release Of Missing Soldiers

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has ordered Nko community to produce six soldiers believed to have been killed or missing.

The Nko youths had allegedly shot and critically wounded an army commander sent to quell the communal clash between them and Onyadama community of Abi Local Government Area over the weekend.

In a statement on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Linus Obogo, Ayade also ordered the dethronement and de-certification of the two community heads, Obol Lopon of Nko, Obol Etim Ayomobiand the clan head of Oyadama, Ovarr Vincent Erena, with immediate effect.

The state security council comprising all service commanders presided over by Ayade had been meeting since Monday morning over the killings and violence which had claimed lives of civilians and soldiers.

Sources said Nko youths had allegedly shot an army commander on Saturday evening alongside six other soldiers, accusing them of taking side with their opponents.

The soldiers were reported to have called for reinforcement from Edor Barracks in Ikom, leading to killings and burning of houses.

The youths accused soldiers of going from house to house, killing residents.

The government ordered the army to sustain its operation in Nko community until those behind the shooting of the six military personnel were produced or fished out.

The government also ordered the forfeiture of the land in dispute for greater public interest.

“The ownership of the disputed land has been revoked and taken over by the state government for overriding public interest,” the statement said.

But former special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, who hails from Ugep, a neighbouring community, has called on the army authorities to withdraw and stop wreaking havoc on Nko.

Meanwhile, former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani who is an indigene of Nko, said he would continue to make efforts to restore peace.

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