The Akwa Ibom State government is stepping up the fight against cult-related violence and killings in the state.
Apart from the recent proscription of 32 cult groups in the state, the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, on Tuesday imposed curfew on Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun local government areas because of cult-related killings in the areas.
Residents in the areas are to stay indoors between 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 a.m. daily, the state Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh, said in a statement. He did not say how long the curfew will last.
The government, which said the ban on motorcycle in the Uyo city was still in force, also banned the use of motorcycle in Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Ika, Ikot Ekpene, and Eket between 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 a.m. daily.
The government said anyone who violates the ban will be prosecuted.
Governor Emmanuel followed up on Wednesday with a town hall meeting at Etim Ekpo with the people of Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun to discuss the security crisis in the areas.
The town hall was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, and the Director of State Security Service, SSS, S. M. Waziri, and top government officials in the state.
“With this peace meeting today, there will be total peace in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas,” the governor said to the crowd inside the hall where the meeting took place.
The commissioner of police, Mr. Ogunjemilusi, promised to deploy more men to the areas. “There will be no hiding place for cultists and other criminals in this state,” he vowed.
Akwa Ibom State, in recent times, has witnessed an increase in cult-related violence and killings, especially in Essien Udim, Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Ikot Ekpene, and Eket local government areas.
A commercial driver was recently burnt to death along Etim Ekpo-Iwukem-Abak Highway when suspected cultists attacked and robbed a bus.
In November, last year, gunmen stormed the Ukanafun country home of the then Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state, Udo Ekpenyong, and shot dead his younger sister. Two more persons were killed by the gunmen elsewhere in the community.