How A’Ibom Task Force Demolished Building Where Corpse Of 130-Year-Old Was Kept | Independent Newspapers Limited
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How A’Ibom Task Force Demolished Building Where Corpse Of 130-Year-Old Was Kept

Posted: Jul 28, 2015 at 8:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Idongesit Ashameri –  Uyo


Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) in conjunction with security agents on Friday raided Ekpene Ukim community in Uruan Local Government Area (LGA) of Akwa Ibom State, bulldozed uncountable number of houses, including a building where the corpse of a 130-year-old man was kept while his funeral arrangements was going on.

Chief Etim Udo Eko, son of the deceased, “before our very presence, our home of 30 years was pulled down on top of the corpse of my late father.

“They came unannounced, accompanied by gun- wielding Mobile Policemen and Soldiers, and before we could take out any of our belongings, the bulldozers of Akwa Ibom State government have reduced our homes to rubbles,” he said.

According to him, the soldiers and Policemen ignored all entreaties that they be allowed to remove their belongings and the corpse of his 130-years-old father, Chief Etim Akpan Asuquo, the family head of Nnung Udo Akpabio, whose funeral preparation and interment he said was on.

The demolition came at a time the people are plagued by hunger, hardship and insecurity due to increased armed robbery cases in the state.

Udo Eko questioned the motive behind what he referred to as “selective approach”, which he said was employed in the demolition exercise, noting that certain buildings were very consciously spared during the exercise, which he said had been going on since June 28.

“Most of the buildings that are not demolished yet are close to the road. We are told that those who got wind of the demolition earlier had bribed the security operatives with as much as N10 million.

“I left my home that fateful morning when I heard they have started demolishing people’s homes. When I returned, they had already positioned the bulldozers to pull our home down. The security men threatened to shoot if we make any attempt to remove our belongings”, he said.

A father of six children, Eko, now lives at Ndon Ebom, while the wife had returned to her parents at Okon Edet Street, Uruan. He lamented that their children returned from school on the fateful day to see their home in ruins.

He called on the government to resettle the affected people and appealed to emergency organisations and public spirited individuals to come to their aid.

He threatened that if government failed to heed to their request, they would not hesitate to seek redress in court.

Also affected is one Ana Bassey Udo, a 40-year-old widow, whose home, according to her, was destroyed in spite of a government approval that permitted her to build on the land.

“I am a widow, I used to sell salt and the proceeds are what I gathered without any help to build the place since my husband died.

“I don’t always have luck because since I was born, nothing good ever come my way without hard work; I am begging the government to look into our case because this kind of misfortune can cause one to commit suicide”, she lamented.

Another victim of the demolition, Esther Okokon Akpan, with Seven children, said their home also came crashing down under the weight of the bulldozers and begged for compensation and resettlement.

The Village Head of Ekpene Ukim, Chief Christopher Etim and the Youth Leader, Comrade Gregory Akpan, were not available for comment, but the Deputy Village Head, Chief Umoh Ekwere, said the Village Council would meet at the General Assembly to decide on their next line of action by government.

When contacted on phone, the Commissioner for Transport, Godwin Ntukude, himself from Uruan and the Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Ekerete Udo, said they were yet to get full details of the matter.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Cordelia Nwawe, ruled out allegation of Police intimidation and supervision of the demolition. She said the police had the duty of maintaining law and order to prevent the situation from being hijacked by hoodlums.

Daily Independent reported that demolition of houses by the Uyo Capital City Development Authority has become very rampant in recent times. It would be recalled that UCCDA had demolished about 60 houses at Atai Obio Offot community in Uyo recently.