Crisis is brewing between the Obuohia – Okike autonomous community in Ikwuano LGA of Abia State and Abasi Eduo ,a neigbouring community in Obot Akara LGA Akwa Ibom State following the alleged seizure of a camera belong to a man identified as Uduak from Abasi Eduo community.
Trouble started for Uduak when he stormed Obuohia-Okike community for a job to take pictures of some buildings destroyed by some suspected cultists in the area.
Hardly had Uduak commenced his job when some of the suspected hoodlums led Udochukwu Nwankwo and Izuchi Ubani attacked him and seized his camera and took him to the traditional ruler of the community, Eze M.C. Eleribe.
It was gathered that the traditional ruler has been instigating the hoodlums to attack any member of the community who asks question about his administration of the community. The latest attack being the vandalization of residences and properties belonging to the leaders of Obuohia Okiki community Development Association(OOCDA) which the camera man came to take pictures of.
After querying the camera man about how he came to take the pictures, the monarch detained Uduak and seized his camera and vowed never to release him until he produces the person who hired him to take pictures of the destroyed buildings.
Eyewitnesses said Uduak later mentioned the names of owners of the destroyed buildings who are members of the Obuohia Okike Community Development Association (OOCDA). However, the monarch insisted that the affected persons must appear in his palace or he won’t release the camera man and his equipment.
It was gathered that the owners of the destroyed buildings have fled the community over the threats of the suspected cultists, most of whom had served jail terms over criminal activities.
According to the eyewitnesses, “The camera man came to take pictures of the buildings destroyed by some youths of the community. Within few minutes, the youths came to the place and arrested the owner of the camera; some of them beat him and seized his camera. He was pleading that he was only hired by the owners of the buildings to take the pictures. The youths took him to the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, Eze Eleribe. After hearing from the youths and the camera man, the Eze said the camera man must produce the people who hired him before he would be released. Everybody is afraid of Eze Eleribe, he is too autocratic. People pleaded with him to release the camera man who is from Akwa Ibom state due to the fragile peace between Obuohia Okike and Abasi Eduo communities. But the Eze refused to heed the appeal. We are afraid that the people of Abasi Eduo may attack our community because of the seized camera.”
After much pressure from other leaders of the community, the monarch was said to have later released Uduak, but seized his camera, insisting that the people who hired him for the job must come to the palace before he releases the camera.
Sources hint that the camera is still in the custody of the traditional ruler, as Uduak is said to be afraid of returning to the community.
Effort to speak with Eze Eleribe was unsuccessful as his mobile number was unavailable at press time.