CULT HIDE-OUT UNCOVERED IN MIDIM COMMUNITY AND EKPENYOUNG ATAI BY SECURITY OPERATIVE OUTSIDE THE STATE – LAND WHERE GOVERNMENT SPONSORED CULTISTS DISPENSE TERROR AT WILL, KIDNAP AT WILL,  MURDER AT WILL AND ROAM FREELY WITH POLICE PROTECTION 

For many Nigerians Boko Haram appears to be the worst menace predominant in our northern states so much that all the security effort both locally and internationally is garnered towards the curbing of this dreaded evil. Many states in the South are ironically believed to be enjoying some relative and comparative peace but now how true is this belief. How can it be when some states, cities and communities in the south are engaged in protracted surreptitious and clandestine cult activities worst in formation and practice than Boko Haram.

Steadily sponsored by the immediate past state government and protected by the State’s Security machinery, Midim and Ekpenyong Atai, once a very peaceful and lush community is now completely turned into a theatre of terror and blood by the AK Marine Cult Group, sponsored by the out-gone state government, protected by the state police under the command of  The   Police Commissioner, Mr. Gabriel Achibong.

 Hon Nse Ntuen is believed to be the Grand Commander of this notorious underground group personally supervising the terror unleashed by the dreadful group on innocent citizens. The group now operates in the open, chasing away every suspected ‘enemy of state’ who is perceived not to support their nefarious activities.

The killer squad led by one Emmanuel Ben Umoh is known for their open and boastful nature when unleashing mayhem either through the ‘directive’ of their godfather and sponsor or merely settling perceived ‘scores’ especially when it has to do with refusal to joining the gang of respiration in carrying out ‘orders from above’ their popular slogan “nothing dey happen” is a well, known signature of this dare devil group after every operation. The slogan is carefully adopted to affirm to whoever dares them the protection they indeed enjoy from security agents at the instance of the immediate past state government.

This same group (AK Marine Cult) was amongst the squad used by Governor Akpabio in the sensational bid to attempt assassination of one Mr. Friday Michael (This made national headlines then). Friday is an indigene of Ekpenyong Atai in Essien Udim LGA, an estranged Chapter Chairman of PDP in Essien Udim LGA, who escaped by the Whiskers during the last electioneering period and who was not only removed from office but banished from Akwa Ibom State till today for daring to receive Senator Helen Esuene (a governorship candidate) at the party secretariat ‘without the Governor’s consent’.Recall that Mrs. Esuene was herself harassed and assaulted during the episode.

Another record of the dreadful operation of this daredevil gang was when the house of one Mrs. Alice Thompson of Ikot Ineme, Odoro Ikot in Essien Udim LGA was completely razed down   while domestic animals belonging to the victims were roasted in the flames of the burning building for a feast by the hoodlums. The ‘feast’ lasted over 2hours without any intervention by the State security agents who were promptly alerted of the incidence. The only sin of Madam Alice Thompson was her effrontery to contest Essien Udim State constituency seat under the platform of the All Progressives congress (APC) against Hon Nse Ntuen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Nse Ntuen being the first cousin of Governor Akpabio who also comes from Essien Udim LGA could not stand this ‘insult’. Madam will continue to pay this ‘sin’ into the foreseeable future.

Recall that AK Marine Cult group and their leader – Emmanuel Ben Umoh came to rational limelight in 2011 when the Daily Sun Newspaper of November 8 reported their kidnap of one Celestine Mel, a staff of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, an indigene of the community who was on vocation at home. The compromised police in Akwa Ibom State refused to act when the victim escaped and reported his ordeal. It took a crack police squad, assembled by then AIG Zone 6, Calabar, MR. M. D. Abubakar (who later became   IGP) to storm their hideout that year and arrested some of their members. The team also recovered some weapons including a fully loaded G3 Military Grade Automatic Rifle, three locally made pistols and several rounds of live ammunition. The gang – leader (Emmanuel Ben Umoh) ran to Nse Ntuen’s country mansion to take refuge and was never arrested. Those arrested were later cosmetically tried and set free by the government.

Just last year, the same group stabbed one Aniekan Friday Akpan from the same community because he rejected all entreaties to join the cult group. The victim was pronounced death at Sani Abacha University Teaching Hospital Uyo a few hours later. This was not and could not be reported by the community and the fearful surviving father of the deceased for fear of further victimization as he was repeatedly intimidated by The Gang Leader, Emmanuel Ben and his men not to make any official report. The deceased was hurriedly buried.

For Victor and Samuel, April 11, 2015 would forever remain turning points in their lives. It was the day they came face to face with death in their homeland in the hands of their brothers and kinsmen-turn-murderers and kidnappers for Godswill Akpabio’s famous dark rule and tyrant government. Victor and Samuel are both indigenes of Midim in Ekpenyong Atai clan in Essien Udim L.GA (Same LGA with Governor Akpabio and Hon. Nse Ntuen). They are not politicians. The duo according to their colleagues, are renowned activists residing in Eket and both working with Exxon Mobil, an Oil & Gas Corporation in Akwa lbom State. They had set out very early by road in their Toyota 4RUNNER vehicle to visit home on the fateful day. In their minds, they felt the urge to arrive in time enough before the restriction on movement for the general elections so that they could cast their votes before partaking in family meeting for a planned burial arrangement of a family member (village head elect).

On their way and as precautionary measure to forestall being kidnapped (a very regular past time of the cult group), both Samuel and Victor attached themselves to a police patrol team at State Police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia — Uyo. The team was officially designated for election monitoring duty in their Local Government area and as routine demand documented their arrival at the Divisional Police Station in Nto Nsek, Essien Udim prior to commencing their monitoring operation. They thought that with Police officers, no harm could come their way. They completely misjudged AK Marine Cult Group who cut short their journey and nearly snuffed life out of them. They arrived into the waiting arms of the cultists who had apparently laid ambush and were specially armed to kill on that day. The cult group which is now the safe haven for ex-convicts, murder suspects, run-away cultists and criminals from Rivers State and other South South region, has its tentacles rapidly spreading across Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District and beyond.

When Victor & Samuel finally approached their community and on their way to their family house, the 4Runner was stopped by heavily armed Akwa Marine Cult members numbering over 30. The gang leader — Emmanuel Ben Umoh personally led the operation to isolate the policemen and the other two occupants. The policemen had to flee, griped by panic and mortal fear of the sophistry of the ammunition wielded by the gang leader and his hit-men especially Lucky Effiong Akpan (aka Pope) and John Marcus lkut (aka Mbata). These dare devil hit-men with their notorious criminal records wasted no time in descending on the two hapless men leaving Victor and Samuel at the mercy of evil and terror. They were beaten to pulp. Victor was severely stabbed in the head. Samuel had multiple bones fracture. Both of them were led into the bush to be slaughtered. The two were accused of sensitizing their community to vote any aspirant of their choice without intimidation. This brave act unknown to the duo had brought their names into the hit list of the powers that be. They were accused of being APC agents. Villagers, who knew the duo as Community leaders, rallied round and rescued them.

Upon rescue, they realized that their car was also smashed and vandalized! The tyres were lacerated with Bayonets attached to the cultists automatic rifles. All phones and cash were taken from them. A good Samaritan with the help of the Police patrol team hurriedly evacuated the victims into another car with which to seek medical attention in the nearest hospital which was about 13 kilometers away from Ikot Ekpene.

On their way, they were soon intercepted by another team of Policemen mixed with more dare-devil hoodlums, personally led by the DPO of Essien Udim Police Division — CSP Raphael Udoh with Hon Nse Ntuen, one Uduak Etim Udom and Chrysanthus George — a roustabout Lilliputian serial “Caretaker-committee chairman of Essien Udim LGA” who is currently nursing a Local Government Chairmanship political ambition. The victims were ordered to file out and lie flat on the ground, blood and all!

Another round of harassment, and threats. Nse Ntuen personally called Governor Godswill Akpabio by phone. AK marine group were blamed for not killing the ‘opponents’ instantly. A member of the gang defended that the attempt was frustrated by the villagers and the Police officers from Ikot Akpan Abia. The Governor then ordered for immediate detention of everybody. All of them (including the policemen on monitoring duty from State Police Headquarters) were then whisked away to Essien Udim Local Government Area Command, Nto-Nsek and detained for purportedly being “APC agents”. All efforts by Victor and Samuel to convince the persecutors that they were not politicians proved abortive while more ploys were made to fabricate charges to justify the mayhem and subsequent torture by the state and its agents.

By 6pm, they were handcuffed and loaded in a vehicle and moved to lkot Ekpene Police Area Command and subsequently conveyed to the State Police Headquarters — Ikot Akpan Abia — Uyo.

In Uyo, they were paraded before the visiting Police AIG assigned for the election — Ogulanta, accused of thurgery and snatching of ballot boxes! The accused were too weak to talk. All four Mobile Policemen who were actually assigned officially for work, and who reported themselves to the DPO in Essien Udim were isolated yet again and detained by The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gabriel Achong!

However, the AIG, Mr. Ogulanta and the visiting CP to Ikot Ekpene senatorial District, one CP Aluko saw through the tissue of lies and ordered that the men be set free. Recall that the Governor wasted no time launching a media war on AlT, THIS DAY Newspaper publication of 30th April, 2015 and other media houses against the AIG and the visiting Commissioner of Police (Aluko), who shunned his dictates in favour of efficient discharge of their duties.

Victor and Samuel were released at 12 midnight to go and seek Medicare and were instructed to report back much later the next day. The next day, they were back at the Police, but in a twist, Gov. Akpabio and his media strategists had gone to town with a cocktail of lies, accusing the victims who narrowly escaped assassination and the police officers of electoral crimes on AlT, THIS DAY Newspaper, Atlantic FM and AKBC TV, naming them as accomplices of the opposition! At the same time, his Ak Marine Boys went on rampage in Ekpenyong Atai, maiming at will to show that they are fully in charge boasting that they are working for the government in power. The Governor then unleashed the State security agents on these hapless citizens and their families. The strategy was to prepare fictitious charges for a malicious court prosecution simply to terrorize these men so mercilessly that they would lose their jobs, cave in or possibly die, so that their story and the sordid things that the Cult group is doing in the community would never be heard!

Nse Ntuen is reported to have even boasted to his close friends that he would use all resources at his disposal to “eliminate” the duo and their families, and in place, plant his cult boys in the community. And he is set out to do just that.

Obviously lives are in danger. The two men had to go underground, relocating their family members as they run, fighting for a chance to live. They are currently being trailed from point to point. Their phone lines are tapped. They are hunted like animals by the Police, DSS and the Cultists at the behest of Akpabio and Nse Ntuen. And they’ve run very far, abandoning their work and family. Everybody they contacted shifted away, not wanting to cross paths with Godswill Akpabio and any of his many killer gangs!

This group has grown into a formidable fearsome killer squad at the disposal of Godswill Akpabio and his men till today. The CP of Akwa lbom State, Mr. Gabriel Achong does not only protect this group within his command but will stop at nothing to offer same support whenever there is any attempt by security forces outside the state to curb their activities. For instance, when a team arrived the state from Abuja to carry out preliminary investigation on the said suspects due to the many petitions that have been filed to the Force Headquarters, the CP warned them, confessing that the group apparently under his watch is “very powerful and untouchable and their area of operation very volatile”  maintaining that he has advised their men to steer clear of the group as he does not want to record any fatality in his command before retiring later in the year.

When the FCIID team arrived the community, some policemen from Area Command who were on patrol duty were invited by the CP Mr. Gabriel Achong to the State Police Headquarters, Uyo and drilled for a perceived support they gave the team from the IG.

Knowing the enormity of the challenge they faced, the risks to their lives and the losses so far suffered, Samuel and Victor have petitioned the Inspector General of Police, the National Human Rights Commission, European Union, United Nations, Head of ECOWAS, National Security Adviser and many other relevant establishments both locally and internationally to intimate them about their plight and the danger they face against the state’s killing machines. It appears the duo is prepared to put everything on the line to stop this persistent dreadful menace in their community.

The Police in FCIID Abuja have been making attempts to apprehend all the culprits involved in this reported murder attempts and other nefarious activities of this cultist, but the Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom State — Mr. Gabriel Achong working with the State Governor, Akpabio (now former) has vowed to frustrate all such efforts. He has been completely compromised and is currently making frantic effort to release the only suspect in Abuja who the team managed to arrest. He has warned any security operative outside the state to first inform him prior to making any arrest on any other suspects. While this may sound as a routine requirement, it is actually intended to facilitate the frustration of such further attempts. Due to these frustrations and lack of cooperation from the Police in Akwa Ibom State, the DPO, Essien Udim was directed over a month ago by the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) Abuja to produce the suspects. He turned up in the FCIID Headquarters — Abuja three weeks ago to confess that he cannot enforce the directive as the people are “too powerful” according to him, he merely “invited them but they all ignored the invitation”!

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Ben Umoh and his gang are roaming freely  threatening to take out Victor and Samuel if they ever show up at home again, deploying his blood thirsty men to work shifts in ambush for their prized preys and victims and any member of their families while continuing in their boast that he is “working on government directive”. Emmanuel Ben and Nse Ntuen were advised by the Mr. Gabriel Achong not to honour the Police Headquarters invitation with a promise to offer them whatever Police protection available in Akwa Ibom State command. He has organized briefings and lectures to the various commands on this. They are even informed to authorize attack on any team who braves their arrest against his advice. The plot is to use any strategy available including traditional institutions to intimidate Victor and Samuel to withdraw their petitions.

Midim Community and Ekpenyong Atai clan still remain in grave fear of this kidnapping bogey-man as he unleashes terror freely, while Victor and Samuel and their families continue to operate underground. According to their petition to the Police High Command, they could add up to the list of unresolved political assassinations in Akwa lbom any time soon.

How far can the IG’s order for the arrest and prosecution of cultists in Akwa Ibom State be implemented when The CP, Area Commander and DPOs are not willing to co-operate. When and how will the AK Marine cult group be called to order? Can the IGP at this point consider redeployment of non-cooperating officers? How are the victims being protected from being murdered or outright banishment from their communities and homelands? These and many more are the litmus tests for the new IGP and indeed the many other security agents.

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