By Emmanuel Ayungbe
UYO—A new village Head has been appointed by the people of Udianga Emem, Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, to replace Chief Mendie Udoekoriko, who was recently dethroned and forced out of the village by cultists.
Worried by the leadership vacuum created after a cult group held the community hostage, stakeholders in the community, yesterday, appointed Chief John Obonukut as the village Head in acting capacity, pending when Chief Udoekoriko, who is currently taking refuge in an undisclosed community, returns to the village.
It will be recalled that Udianga Emem community, which was recently attacked by armed thugs suspected to belong to a cult group, left four persons dead and the village head, Chief Udoekoriko dethroned and chased away from the village.
The sacked monarch, it was gathered, was forced to leave his palace when the rampaging cultists stormed the place and killed one Pastor Uwem Ananki.
Disturbed by the power vacuum and lack of authority to direct the affairs of the troubled community, it was gathered that concerned elders set up an interim regime to manage the community pending when the deposed ruler returns from exile.
Speaking yesterday, the new Village Council Chairman, Chief Obonukut, said that the decision became necessary “to give the village a sense of direction and to effectively coordinate the displaced residents trying to return to the village.”
He promised to collaborate with the police to bring normalcy to the community.
He encouraged the fleeing locals to return as Police special squad had been has been drafted by the Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Zubairu Muazu, to ensure total peace in the area.
Meanwhile, the CP Muazu, said that the launch of the special squad, followed series of cultists attacks in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo, adding that “The Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Impact, has yielded positive results,” disclosing that over 140 suspected cultists have so far been rounded up and detained at the Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia.