By Enwoño-Abasi Ituen, mmi.
Friday, March 19, 2021, would remain a red letter day for Mrs Mfõn (Grace) Sampson Edem Akpan, a native of Ikõt Usen Ibiõnõ, formerly known as Mfõn Enefiõk Bassey, who is married to Mr Sampson Edem Akpan of Mbiabam Ibiõnõ, as she escaped death from the hands of her attempted alleged killers; who robbed her of two of her male sons; with the intention to sell them.
It was the efforts and contributions of the Youth Leader of Ifiayong Obot, in Uruan LGA, Mr Ita Ekanem, the Youth Leader of Ikõt Ayan Itam, Mr Emmanuel James Ntukidem, ‘Don’, and the Youth Leader of Ekid Itam Akpan Õboñ, Mr Umõh Efiõk Ndon, ‘Thanker’, together with their vilante Group members that God used to keep her and her two sons alive and save.
According to The Waves Newspaper’s Anchor reporter in Itu LGA, Mrs Mfõn Sampson Edem Akpan said her Sister-in-law, Mmandu Edem Akpan, visited her on Friday, March 19, 2021, in her husband’s family compound in Mbiabam Ibiõnõ, in Ibiõnõ Ibom LGA, and requested her to follow her to her elder sister’s residence, where she (Mmandu) had, arranged with her sister to keep fruited pumpkin leaves for her (Mrs Mfõn Sampson Edem Akpan) to buy in bulk and later retail in their village market. As a trader, she joyfully followed her; carrying along two of her sons, Malacaih and Hezekiah,, aged about one and three years respectively.
On their way, the prime suspect, Mfõn, told her to accompany her to know her residence in Ekim Itam, Itu LGA, so that she could also change up before they could proceed to obtain the vegetable.
On getting there, she cooked coconut rice for them and deployed all tactics to delay her till it was late; not minding her incessant insistence for her to return home before it was late.
Late in the evening, Mmandu had a male visitor; with whom she had a lengthy discussion outside her room.
She arranged a cyclist, late in the evening to take her back home. The cyclist ignored her repeated complaint on his not using the known route and took her through a strange route; which he said was a short cut to their destination.
Alas, when they got to a deserted area in Ikõt Ayan Itam, close to ‘Idim Abaak’, towards Ifiayong Obot, in Northern Uruan, one of suspects halted the motor cycle that conveyed her and her two sons and began to choke her throat. Picking her off the motor cycle, he used a knife to begin to behead her. She struggled in vain to get loose of his grip, fell down and pretended dead.
At that point, they felt she was dead and zoomed off with her two sons; abandoning her assumed dead body there.
On hearing the pandemonium, Ifiayong Obot children who were searching for snails around the vicinity ran home and raised alarming.
Thus, the Youth Leader of Ifiayong Obot, Mr Ita Ekanem, contacted his Ikõt Ayan Itam counterpart, Mr Emmanuel James Ntukidem, who immediately alerted the community’s vigilante and his Ekid-Itam Akpan Õboñ counterpart, Mr Umõh Efiõk Ndon Umõh, and they ran to the scene to rescue the woman; as she was only injured; but, not dead.
The Youth Leaders took her to Mmandu’s residence in Ekim Itam, where the journey to the scene began.
There, the Youth Leader of Ekim Itam, Mr Saviour Ita Edem, with his vigilante boys, got to the suspects’ residence in Late Chief Okon Essien’s compound; where the suspects where identified and sort for.
Mmandu was identified there with a fake name, Ekem-ini; while her accomplices were identified as Gideon and Benjamin (Anua-õtõ); who had absconded from their residence then.
A Co-tenanant, Lucy Ekpenyong, and others, confirmed the suspects were their tenants; whose occupation and place of origin were unknown to them.
Co-tenants hinted that the alleged suspects left the residence earlier in the day with no information on their destination and mission.
Investigation revealed that one of them, known as Benjamin (Anua-õtõ), was often found in Oku Iboku. Thus, a call was put through to a contact in Oku Iboku, who admitted knowing him and confirmed his presence in Oku Iboku as at that time.
Consequently, the Oku Iboku vigilante members consented to a plea to arrest him.
They did so and handed him over to the Youth Leaders on the mission at the Ayadehe junction called ‘Workshop’; where the Youth Leaders eventually handed him over to the Police at the Itu Divisional Police Headquartres in Ayadehe.
There, Benjamin (Anua-õtõ) confessed to the crime and hinted the Youth Leaders that the two children were custodied in Ikõt Annie Itam; from where they would be sold to a buyer before 5am on Saturday, March 20, 2021. He confessed that kidnapping, abducting and killing people for money as well as selling children are the mainstay of their economy and they are habitual professionals.
With the hint from Benjamin on the whereabout of the stolen children, the Youth Leaders and their vigilante boys hurried to the compound the children were custodied in Ikõt Annie.
They found Mmandu, and her accomplice and brother, Effiõk Edem Akpan, there; they apprehended them and retrieved the kidnapped children from their custody.
While the Police went to give clearance to the Doctor and proprietor of Life Hope Hospital, Enen Atai Itam, Dr Uwem Ibanga, to treat the mother of the kidnapped children of the injury she sustained in the clash with the alleged killers cum kidnapers at the scene, the children were taken to the Hospital to rejoin their mother and victim.
Like wise, the suspects, Mmandu Edem Akpan (Ekem-ini), Benjamin (Gideon) (‘Anua õtõ’), and Efiõk Edem Akpan, were cooling their feet at the Itu Divisional Police Headquartres’ cell.
When The Waves Newspaper Anchor visited the Hospital to see the rescued victim and her children, the Proprietor of the Hospital, Dr Uwem Ibanga, in an interview, said the victim, Mrs Mfõn (Grace) Sampson, was admitted by her to save life; even when money was not yet paid for her treatment, and she was responding to treatment; with an assured hope of survival.
Equally, the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Itu Divisional Police Headquartres told our man that they are aware of the incident and are on top of the situation; but, the case had been transferred to the Akwa Ibom State Police Headquartres in Ikõt Akpan Abia, where further information on the case could be elicited.
The husband of the victim and father of the two kidnapped children, Mr Sampson Edem Akpan, a native of Mbiabam Ibiõnõ, when contacted, thanked God for his wife and sons’ rescue through divine intervention.
While speaking with the Akwa Ibom State Director of Information, Akparawa James Edet, NPOM, a son of Ikõt Ayan Itam, where the incident took place, he thanked God for His mercies upon the children and for saving the life of their mother; while appreciating the Youth Leaders and the vigilante boys for a job well done. He called on the Itu LG Council Chairman and security agents in the Local Government Area to step up regular policing of the communities to fish out criminals and hoodlums form our localities and prevent crime; while urging Landlords and Ladies to always ascertain the identities and means of livelihood of persons they want to accommodate as tenants before leasing their apartments to them.