Stakeholders in Nko community in Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River, said on Wednesday in Calabar that the presence of troops denied their children the right to education.
The Nigerian Army deployed troops to the community to restore peace after a communal clash between Nko and Onyedama community over an expanse of land.
Dr Akpama Akpama, a former commissioner, Federal Character Commission, spoke on behalf of the Nko community.
He told a news conference that the presence of the troops made it impossible for children to partake in the on-going West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations.
“The four secondary schools in Nko community are involved in the on-going NECO examination nationwide. The students, as we speak, cannot go to school nor write the examinations.
“This is appalling and would definitely have effect on our growing youths.
“Our children generally have been denied their right to education as they cannot continue their learning in an unsafe environment,’’ he said.
Akpama also told newsmen that the community disagreed with the way the troops managed the crisis and cited their approach as unethical and unprofessional.
“While we support every responsible and meaningful effort to maintain lasting peace in the area, we call on the Cross River government and the military authority to stop the raid on Nko community.
“The security situation in Nko community has remained tense and fragile.
“For more than five days running, many people have been killed through shooting at sight and a lot more wounded; properties that cannot be quantified at the moment have been destroyed.
“Women and children have abandoned their homes to take refuge in unknown locations, suffering the harsh effects of the rainy season,’’ he said.
Akpama denied allegation that an army captain was killed and six others missing in Nko,
Reacting to the allegations, the Directorate of Army public Relations, denied any wrongdoing by its personnel in Nko.
Brig,-Gen. Onyeama Nwachukwu, army’s spokesman, said the troops did not conduct themselves unprofessionally.
“Troops were legitimately deployed to restore law and order in a communal clash between Onyedama and Nko communities.
“The troops were attacked and shot at with firearms. Five personnel who were critically wounded are currently under intensive medical care,’’ Nwachukwu said.
Meanwhile, Nko community has welcomed the decision by Cross River government to take over the parcel of land in dispute.
It charged the government to take adequate possession of the land by using it effectively so that further crisis would not arise.
Cross River government on Tuesday dethroned and de-certificated the clan heads and chiefs of the two communities as a way of restoring peace in the area. (NAN)