Cross River community decries arrest of monarch, bans nomads
The Ito Combined Traditional Rulers Council in Odukpani Local Council of Cross River State and the entire community have protested against the arrest and detention by the police of the clan head, His Royal Highness Etinyin Edet Okon Eyet Ebita.
In a statement, they noted: “On February 16, 2018, Etiyin Ebita had received an invitation from the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Calabar over his alleged involvement in the murder of a Fulani herdsman in the area and without hesitation, knowing fully well that he was not culpable of any criminal offence, promptly reported to the police on Monday February 19, 2018 with his legal counsel and after interrogation was detained in the cell.
“By this act, our ancestors are angry with the Fulani (people) and they are henceforth not permitted to come to any part of Ito community or pass through same for the purposes of grazing their herds (cows). We therefore wish to use this (medium) to bring this ugly situation to (the) notice of all and sundry and demand that His Royal Highness Etiyin Edet Okon Eyet Ebita should be released forthwith.”
In the statement signed by Chief Inyang Inyang in Calabar, the traditional rulers maintained that Ebita was innocent, adding: “We the entire members of Ito Combined Traditional Rulers Council wish to use this medium to bring to the notice of the general public and government/security agencies in particular, the unlawful arrest and detention, arraignment and subsequent remand in Afokang prisons of HRH Etinyin Edet Okon Eyet Ebita, the clan head of Ito South Clan in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State.
“It will be recalled that fully armed Fulani herdsmen, who are notorious for destroying human lives and property wherever they forcefully enter, had on December 5, 2017 invaded Mbiabong-Ito Community with their cattle and in the process, destroyed farmlands and crops in large number. The Fulani herdsmen were approached and asked why they invaded the community and destroyed farms but they arrogantly refused to dialogue with the elders and youths of Mbiabong Ito, choosing rather to shoot sporadically with sophisticated guns while making their herds to graze freely. In the course of trying to prevent the herdsmen from further destruction, they inflicted gunshot and machete injuries on some Mbiabong Ito people.
“ Etinyin Ebita, who was not in his palace and resides some eight kilometres away from the scene of the incident, through phone calls, quickly made contacts with security agencies that night which enabled the Commissioner of Police to dispatch a contingent to bring the situation under control.”
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