Over 3000 fleeing herdsmen from Taraba State are currently taking refuge in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The local government area was however, created by the Ibrahim Babangida military regime on August 27, 1991. Its headquarters is located at Sankwala. Obanliku is located in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River. It is both an inter-state and international boundary area.
It is bounded in the North by Kwanda Local Government Area of Benue State, in the East by the Republic of Cameroon, the West by Obudu Local Government Area and in the South by Boki Local Government Area.
Obanliku has four basic linguistic groups, which include Bendi, Obanliku, Utanga and Bechere, and for administrative convenience, the area is divided into 10 electoral wards
This is however, happening in Cross River as te National Working Committee (NWC) of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the fresh revelation in the European Union (EU) report has further vindicated them and millions of Nigerians, in their position that the February 23 Presidential election was rigged to favour President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to the PDP, the revelations of alleged manipulations as detailed in the EU report further validates queries by majority of Nigerians that President Buhari was not validly returned for a second term in office.
Spokesman for the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement, ‘’the world can now see that the PDP has not been crying wolf in insisting that the election was outrightly rigged with the cancellation of millions of PDP votes, alteration of results and allocation of fictitious votes to the APC.
‘’Nigerians are still in shock over the revelations by EU of how about 2.8 million votes were deliberately cancelled without sufficient accountabilityand how several returning officers gave no reason for the cancellations. More shocking is the iniquity committed at the national collation center, headed by the INEC Chairman, where the EU report exposed inconsistent numbers, distortions and a large discrepancy of 1.66 million more registered voters, as announced by INEC on 14 January, compared to those announced by state returning officers during the collation of presidential results.’’
Continuing, PDP said Nigerians witnessed, on national TV, how professors and returning officers were unable to reconcile result figures due to heavy manipulations upon which INEC declared the APC winner, adding, ‘’the EU report has further exposed the iniquity committed by the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC by listing how ballot boxes were compromised, how essential materials were missing, how voter register was not always ticked as required and how manual authentication procedures were not correctly followed.
‘’The report also bared how figures on result forms did not reconcile, how result forms were not publicly posted, how result forms and smart card readers were not packed in tamper-evident envelops as required, in addition to how the APC administration used security forces to intimidate voters, aid violence against our members and muscled votes for the APC.’’
PDP is therefore, commending the EU for the courage in exposing the evils allegedly committed by the APC and INEC in the 2019 general elections, pointing out that the report has further reinforced the confidence of millions of Nigerians in our collective expectation of justice in the quest to retrieve our stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal.
The main opposition party is insisting that those in INEC, who allegedly perpetrated such crime against Nigeria, in sabotaging the sanctity of ‘’our electoral processes to frustrate the choice of Nigerians in a presidential election, must be brought to book and made to face the wrath of the law. Our party therefore urges Nigerians to remain calm as the truth about the election continues to unfold while justice takes its course on the matter.’’
In the mean time, eye-witnesses say the herdsmen are running for their lives as a result of crisis in Taraba. They accordingly fled through Benue to Cross River for safety.
Last May, following the attacks on Murbai, Kisbap, Sembe and Yawai-Abbare villages of the Ardo-Kola and Jalingo Local Government Areas of Taraba, residents of the sacked villages and adjoining communities fled to Jalingo, the state capital, for fear of further attacks.
A cleric, Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Kamai, who worked at Janibanibu, a village located behind Jalingo timber shield at Nunkai, told The Punch that threats of attacks from herdsmen forced many people to abandon their homes.
Kamai, who also fled the area, said residents of the villages continued to flee in droves despite the deployment of security agents there, adding, ‘’though security personnel have been deployed in the area, people are still fleeing the communities because security personnel cannot be everywhere.
‘’Most times, when there were rumours that the Fulani herdsmen were going to attack a village, they would make real their threats; so, people have been running away from their homes.’’