Ukofia was just about to step out of the ‘afe’ when Nkoyo and Affiong approached from the main entrance of the compound, screaming.
“Uko oooo! Ukofia Akpan Ntokon Ubom Ntuk! It has happened o”, Nkoyo exclaimed, leaving him confused. Affiong did not let him utter a word when she barked, “Go back and drink! In fact, sleep; let your brother perish in the hands of Akusa men.” Both women barely made sense to him as none spoke in clear terms.
It was most unusual for Nkoyo and Affiong to address Ukofia their brother in-law in such manner on a normal circumstance. Not only was Ukofia the elder brother to Okokon, their husband, he was also the head of warriors in the entire Inyang Ibom clan and was highly respected by all and admired by women.
Iquo-mma faced open jealousy in the village just because she’s Ukofia’s only wife. Highly reputable men like him were expected to marry many wives, yet he refused to. Tonight, he has received the news he never envisaged.
Gently dropping the keg of palm wine in his hand, he queried, “Nsido? Where is Okokon?” He suspected that his brother may be in trouble. Affiong broke into tears as Nkoyo managed to respond. “Uko, you were told to drive these Akusa men away from our land and you refused, now they have manifested their true colour”.
Ukofia was furious this time as he still did not get the answer he wanted. He angrily asked again, “woman, where is Okokon? What happened?” Affiong cried out, “your brother has been butchered! Butchered by Akusa men at… At…” she stammerd as Ukofia charged at her, “at where?” Nkoyo responded, “Obio-oko, at Obio-oko”.
He did not let them say the next word when he rushed into his hut, then appeared with ‘ukaridem’ his special war machete and headed out into the dark.
Akusa men are goat sellers who were hosted in the community amidst disapproval by some locals. An attack by these goat sellers far away Obio-oko, has left Okokon and many others dead.
Ukofia is both angered by the frustration of his decision not to drive the Akusa men away and the fact that it was his only brother that has fallen victim of Akusa men’s inhumanity in Obio-oko where Okokon went to purchase some goods to sell at Obo market.
(To be continued…)