Cross River violence: Buhari commends government, police handling
President Buhari has praised the Cross River State Government and the State Police command for their swift action in preventing the escalation of the violence that erupted in Biase Local Government in the state.
“I commend the Cross River State Government and the State Police Commend (sic) for acting swiftly to prevent the violence in Biase Local Government Area from escalating,” Buhari said in a statement on Tuesday.
“There is no justification whatsoever for the bloodshed and destruction of property.”
A violent clash across four communities in Biase ensued on Monday which left scores killed and several injured.
The clash in Urugbam, Egbor, Ipene, and Abanwan communities of the Erei clan led to the displacement of hundreds of villagers as they took to the bushes for safety.
According to reports, the violence happened due to disagreements over land used to cultivate palm fruits.
The Egbor community reportedly leased out the land, owned by both Urugbam and Egbor communities, to African Stone Works Ltd. without the consent of the Urugbam and other communities that have been a part of the cultivation for over 45 years.
In contrast with the president’s commendations, a source blamed the government of Cross River State, Police and the military for their slow response to the crisis.
“Almost 24hrs after the crisis was reported to the Nigerian Army HQ, the government of Cross River state, and police authority, yet no military/security response, presence or action,” the source said.
“So far, countless people have been confirmed killed – some beheaded and their heads were taken away.
“Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army 14 Brigade in Ohafia, Abia state, is just about 10 minutes drive from the troubled location in Biase LGA of Cross River state, and I am sure they must have been hearing the gunshots going on there. Thousands of vulnerable aged men and women, children and others stranded and hiding in bushes and by the riversides urgently need help. This is really disappointing, to say the least.”
Buhari, however, commended the response of the security forces before he called on the communities to allow peaceful living among themselves.
“Our communities must be ready to live together in peace — no development can take place in an atmosphere of recurring violence. Law and order must be allowed to prevail in these affected communities.”