C’River: Four Dead Over Disputed Family Land

BY: Nick Nwaneri, Calabar 

There is trepidation in Akai Effiwat, a community in Odukpani local area of Cross River state following the sudden disappearance of four persons over land dispute in the area.

The four persons are Effiom Eyamba (55) years , Samuel Eyamba (35)years, Efiong Eyamba (22) and Ekpeyong Ekpeyong their friend were reportedly killed by assailants who have  now been identified as rival family members  who allegedly forced them to ingest herbicide over a disputed parcel of land which also encapsulates a palm estate  at Akai Effiwatt , in Odukpani.

The tragic incident sent shivers down the spines of Villagers and the Family of Obed Eyamba who lost  three of his brothers including a friend who accompanied them on the journey.

The four victims never had an inkling that the trip to Akai Effiwatt would be their last as a family source made this paper to understand adding that their corpses were yet to be found.

Also, the mother of one of the deceased, Mrs Ekpeyong said  that her 35 year old Son,  Ekpeyong  who has been a childhood friend to the Eyamba’s , never came back home since 27th June , 2022 when he left the house with his friends to Akai Effiwatt but she received the most shocking news when she heard that he was killed alongside his friends whom he accompanied to the village.

She appealed to the  Inspector General of Police , Attorney General &Commissioner for Justice in Cross River to come to her aid as she has no one to fight for her to get justice .

According to her, a female member of the suspects family, who was a legislative leader of  Council had boasted that they would kill the matter and ensure that the case doesn’t go to trial because she had  claimed she  was well connected.

Our investigations showed that three family members from the Eyamba family namely and their friend , went to the village from Calabar on June 27 to see how to amicably resolve the land matter and also get some palm fruit but met their untimely death while on the land .

A security source who didn’t want his name on print told Vanguard that when the four got to the village they went to the land not knowing that one Okokon Edem had laid ambush for them with some notorious cultist.

“When they got to the land which was disputed to get done palm fruit , they were attacked by some group of boys numbering five including the alleged  mastermind who is now at large”.

They beat them to a pulp , then brought herbicide which they forced them to ingest , after they became weak , they carried their bodies to a gully near the river and dumped their bodies there ,so that when it rains they would be swept into the river.

“As we speak , we have been unable to recover their corpse because they have probably been swept into the river as the perpetrators had  planned , but we found a black  APTECH branded bag belonging to one of the victims at the scene of the incident.

“There have been pressure and various degrees of “push” to force the investigation to stop, but we shall see that the matter goes to trial , the source said.”

The source further  revealed that during a raid after an intelligence report about a cult group holding a meeting four persons were arrested and during investigations, three phones belonging to the deceased were found with them.

“Further probing revealed that some  members  of the Skylo confraternity were part of those who allegedly carried out the dastardly act as instructed by leader who is now at large, six of them are now ( four at Afokang , two in police custody)  while three persons are at large”.

He gathered that family of the alleged suspect had petitioned the Nigeria Police claiming that their sons were being detained illegally and that the police was  infringing on their fundamental human rights while seeking their release from custody.

Confirming what the security sources said, Mrs Ekpeyong told Vanguard that one former Councilor , who was now at large has been fingered and that she was even boasting that the matter would be “killed”.

“My son’s daughter who is just 12 years old has been asking me the whereabout of his father and when he is going to come back even though I have told her , she still finds it strange and unbelievable”.

One of the Surviving brother to the deceased , Obed Eyamba explained that his family were still waiting for the return of his uncle, 55 year old , Peter Eyamba, two brother and their friend because there has been so much pressure from the mother of the deceased friend , his uncle’s wife and children.

“I want to use this medium to appeal to the IG of Police , Commissioner of Police, CP Alhassan ,to help my family , we have waited for over a month now , no trace of their body , nothing at all “.

“We only got a clear information when police made some arrests following investigations , and they recovered phones belonging to the deceased , three of thier phones , the suspects should kindly tell us where my uncle and my brothers corpse are so we can bury them, he said”.

Speaking, the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer,  PPRO, DSP Ewa Igri who confirmed the incident said he was aware of petitions from various quarters but assured that the police will unravel every mystery surrounding the matter.

According to Igri “There is no amount of distraction that will make the police not to do their job, the Anti Cultism and Kidnapping Squad had raided members of Skylo confraternity during a meeting on the 16th, July 2022,  following a tip off and recovers a locally made pistol , phones, criminal charms.

“When the Eyamba’s who had raised  the alarm over their missing family members heard about the arrest , they came to the station to see if any of their person was among those arrested but that was not the case.”

“Upon further investigation , it was discovered that some of the phones recovered from them ( Skylo confraternity members) belonged to some of the deceased person’s who were declared missing since June , so when the people from Eyamba family saw the phones , they raise alarm ,and we started digging more to get to the root “.

“Infact , we arrested six persons among who were James Effiok and Edem Okokon confessed to the murder of the four persons, by tying them and forcing them to drink herbicide”.

“We will follow due process *in get* to a logical conclusion of this matter, we have received several information about how they intend to use certain government offices in the judiciary to avert justice , we are not perturbed , we will handle the matter in the most professional manner.”

“The suspects in our custody have made confessional statements , both written and verbal and we have them on record, and we shall follow through with the position of the law.”

“No one is bigger than the law, no individual is above the law , I can assure the family of the deceased and Nigerians that the Cross River state Police Command will do the right thing no matter whose ox is gored,”.

“We are also using this medium to let  the people Ikot okon, Ekemkpon, oduyama and Ikot Nyong and other adjoining communities to alert security agencies  if Asuquo okokon, Etim Henry and Offiong Edem okokon who are now at large are sighted”.

Attempt to reach the other family proved abortive as repeated calls to their various phone lines remained unanswered 

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