By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
The Governments of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states have begun a reconciliatory process to end the differences between Ikot Offiong and Oku-Iboku communities which resulted in over a dozen deaths between December 2016 and February 2017.
The deputy governors of both states met Friday in Calabar during a joint inter-boundary peace meeting where they disclosed that they are willing to work out a framework to ensure peace is restored in the areas of conflict.
The Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ivara Esu described as saddening, the crisis between both states and maintained that both communities which are agrarian ought to live in peace and not displaced from their source of livelihood due to what he termed; “Unnecessary conflicts”.
On his part, the deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Moses Ekpo sued for the rekindling of the bond that had existed between both states as it ensured sustainable growth and development.
Ekpo denied allegations that the Akwa Ibom state government was arming the Oku-Iboku community to go to war and expressed gratitude for the invitation by the Cross River State Government to explore ways to ending the crisis which began in December 2016.
The meeting which lasted over five hours CrossRiverWatch gathered, may have ended in a stalemate as the Akwa Ibom contingent insisted that the community which fired the first shot be included in the communique much to the distaste of the Cross River team which feels that will not help in the healing process.