|Warlord, Asuquo Okon (Right)
and his second in command
The name Okon Asuquo, popularly called Akon sends shivers down the spine of many residents of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, especially residents of Okoyong, Okurikang. Eki, Obodio, Ikot Offiong, Inua Akpa etc.
For years, Asuquo and his gang have been alleged to be war mercenaries, prosecuting the many wars involving different communities in Odukpani Local Government. An indigene of Mbiabo in Odukpani and a relative to a powerful politician in Odukpani who is nursing governorship ambition, Asuquo and his gang were also alleged to be easy hires for politicians to settle political scores. They were also alleged to be involved in many disputes, siding whoever is ready to hire them for a price, to intimidate or kill their perceived opponents.
His group were the most dreaded gang in Okurikang-Obomitiat-Ekpene-Inua Akpa axis of the LGA. A source from Okurikang told GRASSROOT REPORTERS that until the arrest of Asuquo and his second in command who was seen standing beside him while being paraded by the Police on Thursday, the group operated unchallenged by security operatives. The source also said Asuquo, a member of Klans cult group, have also been fingered in cult-related killings and clashes in Odukpani and its environs. Sources said the alleged ‘warlord’ has been petitioned severally, prior to his arrest, but was never arrested due to the powerful persons backing him.
A source also alleged that his group was responsible for the recent killing of about 10 persons from Ekpene Eki, including one woman, who were said to have gone to escort market women who went to Okurikang market. Two of their victims were captured alive and butchered, as seen in a video that have gone viral.
Many who spoke with GRASSROOT REPORTERS said residents of these war-turn areas were afraid to challenge him, for fear of being killed, as he was thought to possess powerful ‘bulletproof’ charms. Sources also said his group was responsible for the snatching of a service rifle from a military officer at Itu bridge. The rifle was later returned to the Cross River State Security Adviser (South), Ani Esin, who in turn, handed the rifle to the police. He is alleged to have beaten up the youth leader of Okurikang community for allegedly informing the police of their activities.
On Thursday, Asuquo, alongside his second in command, was paraded by the Commissioner of Police, Cross River State Command, CP Abdulkadir Jimoh, at the State Police Command Headquarters, Calabar. According to reports, the suspect expressed shock when shown the viral video of him and his gang butchering 2 men, saying he didn’t know someone was recording him while carrying out the dastardly act.