…Ndiya Clan indigenes demand justice

By Ime Silas

Indigenes of Ndiya Clan in Ikono local government area of Akwa Ibom State have condemned in strongest terms what they have described as degrading and humiliating treatment meted on their Clan head by men of the Nigeria Police.

According to a Police Invitation slip obtained by The Profile Newspaper, the Clan Head, His Highness, Nsobom Godswill Udoisang was on Thursday, 6th January, 2022, invited by the Ikono Division of the Nigeria Police on the case of “Offences In Relation To Witchcraft And Juju”, which he honoured.

Our paper gathers that upon arriving the Ibiaku Ntok Okpo Divisional Police Station, the Clan Head was informed of an allegation of him allegedly sending one Kufre to go and bring sand from the premises of the current Paramount Ruler of Ikono local government area, HRM, Okuku Nana Akpaitang, for a yet-to-be established purpose. An allegation the Clan Head has denied.

It was learnt that the royal father’s subjects on hearing of the development, thronged the police station but, all efforts to get their Clan Head released on bail proved abortive. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), CSP Bassey Efanga was reported to have insisted that he won’t release the Clan Head except on instructions of the Ikono Paramount Ruler, HRM Okuku Akpaitang.

Interventions of notable indigenes of the Clan to secure the royal father’s release were rebuffed by the police, insisting that he must sleep in the police cell.

The Clan Head was arraigned the following morning before a Magistrate’s court in Ikono on a one-count charge of “Offences In Relation To Witchcraft And Juju” .He was eventually admitted to bail by the court.

In a chat with our correspondent, the Clan Head, who initially declined commenting on the matter, saying that the case was before a court, however said he knew nothing about the allegation.

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He said “Normally, I wouldn’t want to say anything on the matter since it is already in the court. But, since this incident occurred, so many persons have called me on the phone, while others came here seeking to know what really happened.

“So, the simple truth is that I returned home on Wednesday last week to see a Police invitation inviting me to come to their station at Ibiaku Ntok Okpo on Thursday. I honoured the invitation accordingly.

“When I got there, I was informed by the DPO, CSP Bassey Efanga that a certain man named Kufre was arrested at the premises of our Paramount Ruler. According to the police, after he was seriously beaten, the man said that I was the one who sent him to go and bring sand from the Paramount Ruler’s house. I denied that I knew nothing about such allegation.

“So, the DPO ordered that the man be brought out. When he was brought out before myself and the DPO, he started begging “please, Your Highness help me”. And I asked him, how am I going to help you?

He now said that it was when he was beaten that he told them that I was the one who sent him to go and bring sand from the Paramount Ruler’s house.

“And right in front of the DPO, I asked him: do I know your house? He said no. Do I know your name? He said no. I also asked: how did I get to send you to go and bring the sand? He couldn’t answer. I now asked him: what was the supposed sand for? He said he doesn’t know.

Afterwards, the DPO refused to release me, saying that he won’t release me except on instructions from the complainant, Paramount Ruler. They insisted that I must sleep in the cell. Well, that was how they kept me in custody till the next day, Friday morning when I was arraigned before a Magistrate’s court”

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Reacting, some indigenes of Ndiya Clan, who described the incident as humiliating and degrading, averred that such treatment against their royal father was a desecration of the traditional stool of Ndiya Clan and demanded for justice.

One of the youth leaders in Ndiya Clan, Akparawa Udeme Peter said: “The entire incident is a gang up. It is an insult on the entire people of Ndiya Clan. I can’t imagine that they could treat our revered Traditional father in the manner we saw over a case he knew nothing about.

“How can they use a lunatic and drunkard to frame up our Clan Head? It is a mockery of our Clan Council and a desecration of the traditional stool of Ndiya Clan. As a people, we stand by our father and we demand justice”.

Another indigene of the area, Idorenyin Edet who is fondly called ‘Eto akan eto’ alleged that the whole plot was to tarnish the image of the Clan Head with the underlying intent to suspend him as Clan Head.

“We know our Clan Head as a man of honour”, Idorenyin said. Continuing: “Since he ascended the throne, the entire Ndiya Clan has enjoyed peace. We all know that they are trying to tarnish the image of His Highness, thinking that they would succeed in suspending him. We know all of them and it will not work. That is not the way to treat a certificated royal father especially, one who came honourably to honour a Police invitation.

“Everyone knows kufre with his mischievous antecedents in the community. So, it is a failed attempt to use such a character to settle their scores. We the people of Ndiya Clan will resist it”, he quipped.

Corroborating the other indigenes of the Clan, Mr Etimbuk Eyo alleged: “…we have gathered from reliable sources that their plan was to twist the false incident and make it an attempted murder case so that they will arraign His Highness before a Magistrate, who would remand him. And then in the course of the gang up, they would withdraw His Highness’ certificate of recognition as a Clan Head.

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“We all understand that the whole matter has a lot to do with the Ikono Paramount Rulership struggle and some elements’ belief that they should be in charge of the headship of Ndiya Clan. We know that they are trying to cause trouble in the Clan but we are watching closely”.

In a telephone chat, an Akwa Ibom-based lawyer, Robert Okon, Esq. said he was shocked at the news of the royal father’s incarceration, describing it as laughable and shameful.

“The entire issue to me, is laughable and at the same time, shameful. When I first got wind of the matter and I got to see the allegation as it appeared on the police invite, I got thinking of our laws and law enforcement agents.

However, to avoid prejudices, let’s not speak more on that. I have my reservation about the existence of such offences in our laws”, Robert said, adding, “…but we’re still studying the charge, vis-a-vis our laws and we will follow it to the end.

Efforts to get comments from the Paramount Ruler of Ikono, HRM Okuku Nana Akpaitang were unsuccessful as our correspondents were told the Monarch was attending to visitors and would not want to speak on the matter, when our team visited his Obot Etim Palace.

A Police Officer at the Ibiaku Ntok Okpo, Ikono Divisional Police station approached by our correspondent for the purpose of getting more facts of the case simply retorted “… the case is now in court. Go there”.

Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned till February 28, 2022.

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