7 Months after, Nta land’s attackers are yet to be arrested

The people of Nta clan in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State are still mourning and waiting for justice seven months after a group of 60 armed men with AK47 rifles invaded and ransacked Ofononta village, in Ikom Local Government Area Cross River State.

Nta Clan Head and Ntonemang of Nta Kingdom, His Royal Highness, Emmanuel Nton Ogha said nobody have been arrested for the December 24th, 2022, Christmas eve early hours unprovoked attack that claimed three innocent villagers lives .

According to him, the people of Nta Clan were thrown into deep mourning as a group of armed men with AK47 from an extract of Mbembe called Ofunokpan from Obubra Local Government Area numbering more about sixty (60), crossed the river from Obubra Local Government Area to Nta land in Ikom LGA and unleashed waves of terror attacks on the innocent people of Ofononta village in Nta Clan, while the villagers were still sleeping on Saturday morning, 24th December 2022, being Christmas eve.

“They succeeded in killing and destroying whatever they were able to lay their hands on in apparent declaration of yet another unprovoked ethnic war against the hospitable and peace-loving people of Nta kingdom.

His Royal Highness said the attackers entered Nta land early in the evening of Friday, 23 December 2022, through one of Nta beach side villages called Mkpaya along the small river – a place they had earlier destroyed in 1993 when same people declared an unprovoked and unnecessary ethnic war against them aimed at dislodging the Nta people from their ancestral homeland.

He further stated that the invaders after entering the land unhindered, proceeded to stormed Ofon village around 4 am on Saturday, 24 December 2022 and immediately began their satanic mission of killing and destruction till 7am of that same day.

Another Community leader, Chairman of Ofon and the Headmaster of Nta primary school, Mr. Anoka Bassey said that, in displaying their natural war-like disposition, the Ofunokpan militants captured and heartlessly killed two innocent victims; a resident pastor of Assemblies of God Church named Pastor Mike Obi and his younger sister, Miss Favour Obi, a thirteen year old teenager.

Both victims’ hails from Boki Local Government Area. Furthermore, the attackers captured and murdered Akpuju Ekpe, a fisherman and a son of Nta who is a native of Ofon. His body was mutilated and suspected to have been cannibalized by the attackers.

Disappointed that the villagers raised the alarm and people flee , the attackers killed all the domestic animals in the community and stole eleven motorcycles and burnt several others they could not cart away.

The invaders also looted one hundred and fifty bags of 150 Bags of rice, 200 bags of garri, eighty bags of yams and water yams which were prepared by the community and individuals to be taken to market that day.

The farm products were loaded in two large open motorized wooden boats owned by the community. Both boats were stolen by the attackers who did not spare the only solar street light in Ofon, but callously destroyed it.

The attackers also targeted the house where the Former Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency Chief Clement Ebri’s mother was buried and burnt it , as well as the refurbished government two buildings hospital. Both were equally burnt and hospital’s drugs and equipment looted.

Though the people knew the invaders and attackers, Nta people restrained themselves from retaliating but choose the part of peace by officially reporting the matter to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ikom Police Division, CSP Victor Usang.

They said that although CSP Usang immediately responded and dispatched a team of investigators to the village who arrived the village at about 8am on December 24th, 2022,and assessed the horrible scene and gathered photographic evidence, no arrest was made.

Also speaking on the unprovoked attack, Nta Youth President said that Nta took the none-retaliatory approach not out of cowardice but to prove that we fully support and embraces the progressive policies of the current administration of the State Governor, Prince Bassey Otu and his effort to ensure a peaceful Cross River State.”

“As a peaceful law-abiding tribe, Nta took the none-retaliatory approach not out of cowardice but to prove that we fully support and embraces the progressive policies of the current administration of the State Governor, Prince Bassey Otu and his effort to ensure a peaceful Cross River State.”

He stated that, it is disheartening for the people of Nta to be subjected to the kind of wickedness and ingratitude continuously being displayed by the war mongering Mbembe group who persistently seek to tarnish the image of the good people of mbembe nation.

He said their destructive nature and unwavering determination to erase the people of Nta from their ancestral homeland despite years of generosity shown to them by Nta, is both shameful and indicative of their inability to coexist peacefully with any other tribe outside their kids kins in Obubra.

It was gathered that Nta people had in the last century accommodated the Ofunokpan group of Mbembe people as refugees in Nta land from 1921 through 1993. That this act of assistance was extended to the Mbembe people due to the business relationship between Nta and Ofunbongha (Mbembe).

But that cashing on Nta’s exceptional hospitality, Ofunokpan faction first demanded for a division of Nta land, then a separate clan, and eventually claimed outright ownership of the land.and initiated a series of land ownership disputes against Nta which went up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

But the case turned against them as the Supreme Court held that the Ofunokpans are tenants in Nta land. Ntas said since the judgment was delivered,Ofunokpans become aggressors calling for ethnic war by unprovoked attacks.

They allegedly declared an unprovoked all-out genocidal communal war against Nta people on May 19, 1993 after residing in Nta land for 73 years as tenants. Nevertheless, Nta regroup and successfully counterattacked, forcing the troublesome Mbembe group to be expelled from Nta land and returned to their kis and kins in Obubra where they originated.

Unfortunately, since that sad incident, data shows that the Ofunokpan Obubra have continued to carry out a number of senseless cross river guerrilla style attacks on Nta land and returned back to Obubra which has resulted in deaths and destruction of Nta people and their communities since 1993 to present times.

The December 24 2022 attack on Ofononta village came approximately after 30 years of the 1993 war and the fifth of such targeting the village.

Nta had came under attacks by the Ofunokpan in December 1993 ,March 1994,August 1994, November 1994
January 1995 and April 1995. And attacks on Ofononta (Ofunatam) community; in December 1995, in April 1996,December 1997 ,in April 2005 and
December 2022.

The Clan Head and Ntonemang of Nta kingdom His Royal Highness Ntonaton Emanuel Nton Ogha said the attacks are on unnecessary and appealed to the State Governor Prince Edet Bassy Out to intervene and ensure peace.

He appealed to the governor to construct the Nta Nselle road to ameliorate the suffering of his people and called on the leaders of Obubra Local Government and Mbembe to prevail on Ofunokpan to stop attacking Nta land.