Operatives of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command have arrested Chief Benson Udo Ekpo and Village Head of Ikot Akpan in the Oruk Anam Local Government Area for the alleged killing of cows belonging to herders by people in his community.
Sources from the community, on Thursday in Uyo, said that the Ikot Akpan community did not kill any cows, but chased away herdsmen and their cows from their community when they had invaded their farmlands and destroyed people’s crops.
A youth leader of the community, Aniefiok Amos, informed newsmen that the herdsmen invaded their community on Tuesday with their cows and destroyed cassava, yams, and other crops before the youths pursued them out to another community to avoid confrontation with the herders.
He said: “On Tuesday we saw a herd of cows that invaded our farms in the Ikot Akpan village destroying crops. All we did was pursue them and they ran to the neighbouring village. “So, what happened to the cows when we left them in another village, we don’t know.
“We have to protect our farms and crops. But we were surprised as the police arrested our respected Village Head, Chief Benson Udo Ekpo, for an offence he never committed. We learnt that other persons have also been arrested in the village in connection with the matter.”
Another youth of the community identified as Abasi Akpakpan said the village head was wrongly arrested by the police and called for a thorough investigation into the matter.
Akpakpan advised the Akwa Ibom State Police command to release the village Head saying, “We want the Police to release our village Head first and then continue with their investigation.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Odiko MacDon, confirmed the incident, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Olatayo Durosinmi has ordered an investigation into the matter.
He said: “We have received such reports that some cows were slaughtered in the community. Cow meats were found in some homes in the village. Some persons have been arrested. I don’t know whether the village head is one of them.
“We also received a report that one person is missing. That is why police swung into action and arrested the people in our custody. We have commenced preliminary investigation into the matter to ascertain all the allegations.”