by crossriverwatch admin
The leaders and people of Efik Kingdom in the Cross River State (CRS), have petitioned the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Goodluck to seek the speedy implementation of the Geneva Convention and the Kampala Convention for the protection, assistance and compensation of Internally Displaced Persons of Ikot Offiong in the Odukpani LGA of Cross River State who were forced to abandon their ancestral homeland due to armed attacks and ‘genocide’ perpetrated by the people of Oku Iboku in Akwa Ibom State during the boundary disputes which escalated in 2000.
As a consequence of these bloody incursions and attacks on the Ikot Offiong people, the over 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled Ikot Offiong continue to reside in make-shift camps in the Calabar Local Government Area under deplorable conditions fourteen years after they fled their homeland.
In the petition signed by 38 Efik Leaders of thought and copied to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Inspector General of Police, the President of the Nigerian Senate, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Governor Liyel Imoke, Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the petitioners expressed outrage over the apathy with which the Nigerian state has responded to the bloody attacks and ‘genocide’ which led to the displacement of the Efik people of Ikot Offiong.
“The consistent vicious, unprovoked and widely publicised attacks against Efik indigenes on Ikot Offiong and its environs by the people of AkwaIbom State has disrupted the economy and education in the Ikot Offiong Community and left the Ikot Offiong (IDPs) of Efik origin too petrified to return to their ancestral homeland in the Mbiabo wetlands without security.
We are forced by this attitude of indifference to the plight of the Ikot Offiong IDPs to appeal to you, Mr. President, to kindly intervene and assist in this matter pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/50/195 “Protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons” to which Nigeria is a signatory, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 amended and the 2005 Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in favour of CRS (No LPELR-SC.124/1999)”. Part of the petition reads:
Below is the full text of the petition:
His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck EbeleAzikiwe Jonathan (GCFR),
The President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Office of the Secretary to the Federation
Federal Secretariat Complex
Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja, Nigeria.
May 16, 2014
PETITION TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA FOR INTERVENTION AND ASSISTANCE ON:
1. ADEQUATE ENFORCEMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT – A.-G., CROSS RIVER STATE V. A.-G., FED. AND A SECOND DEFENDANT, THE GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE  RENDERED BY THE COURT IN FAVOUR OF THE CROSS RIVER STATE. (2005) LPELR-SC.124/1999).
2. THE RESETTLEMENT OF THE ESTIMATED 150,000 INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPs) FORCED OUT OF THEIR IKOT OFFIONG ANCESTRAL HOMELAND IN CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA BY VIOLENCE IN 2000.
3. SEEKING A LASTING RESOLUTION TO THE IKOT OFFIONG/OKU IBOKU INTER-COMMUNITY, INTER- STATE BOUNDARY DISPUTE IN NIGERIA.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2.1 LEGAL FRAMEWORK
3. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
4.CASES AND INCIDENTS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING AND GENOCIDE.
5. PRESS REPORTS ON THE VIOLENCE AND GENOCIDE AGAINST IKOT OFFIONG
6. TIMELINE OF EVENTS
7. INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT ON IKOT OFFIONG IDPS OF EFIK ORIGIN AND ITS IMPACTS
8. WEAK GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
9.LEGAL RULINGS ON THE BOUNDARY DISPUTE IN FAVOUR OF CROSS RIVER STATE
Dear President Jonathan,
Thank you for your commitment to providing support to national and international communities who experience forced displacement, sustaining the legal and policy framework including Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution for the protection and assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), NEMA Act (1999) and working cooperatively with the International Community also being a signatory to the Geneva Convention and the Kampala Convention for the protection, assistance and compensation of IDPs.
However, We the People of Efik Kingdom in the Cross River State (CRS), wish to draw your attention to the fact that this framework has not been implemented in the case of the Efik People of Ikot Offiong in the Odukpani LGA of our State who were forced to abandon their ancestral homeland due to armed attacks and genocide perpetrated by the people of Oku Iboku in AkwaIbom State during the boundary disputes which escalated in 2000. As a consequence of these bloody incursions and attacks on the Ikot Offiong people, the over 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled Ikot Offiong continue to reside in make-shift camps in the Calabar Local Government Area under deplorable conditions fourteen years after they fled their homeland.
Furthermore, We, The People of Efik Kingdom, wish to express our outrage and register our formal protest on the apathy with which the Nigerian state has responded to the bloody attacks and genocide which led to the displacement of the Efik people of Ikot Offiong. The consistent vicious, unprovoked and widely publicised attacks against Efik indigenes on Ikot Offiong and its environs by the people of AkwaIbom State has disrupted the economy and education in the Ikot Offiong Community and left the Ikot Offiong (IDPs) of Efik origin too petrified to return to their ancestral homeland in the Mbiabo wetlands without security.
We are forced by this attitude of indifference to the plight of the Ikot Offiong IDPs to appeal to you, Mr. President, to kindly intervene and assist in this matter pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/50/195 “Protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons” to which Nigeria is a signatory, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 amended and the 2005 Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in favour of CRS (No LPELR-SC.124/1999).
We implore you to use your good Offices as the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to cause the immediate implementation, in respect to the Ikot Offiong IDPs, of the following: Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, the UNHCR Guiding Principles and the Article 1 of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa, 2009 which place on Federal Government of Nigeria the obligation to assist, compensate and protect IDPs within her jurisdiction.
We, The People of Efik Kingdom, firmly believe that the application of the above referenced framework to the case of the Ikot Offiong IDPs will provide a safe and secure environment for our displaced children, sisters and brothers to return to their ancestral homeland in Ikot Offiong and its environs and engage in the peaceful pursuit of their daily living. We thank you for your prompt attention to this human travesty.
Please find below the body of our petition detailing the historical background and current situation of the internally displaced persons of Ikot Offiong.
We, The undersigned People of The Efik Kingdom, thank you profusely for your immediate interventionin this human travesty.
2. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
2.1 Legal Framework:
The Nigerian State, in her 1999 Constitution and through international affiliations, possesses established legal and policy instruments created to guide The Federal Government in her efforts to protect, compensate and assist IDPs as outlined below:
(a) The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended;
(b) The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Cap. A.9 LFN 2004;
(c) The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Act, 1999;
(d) The African Union (AU) Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa, 2009;
Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution imposes an obligation on the national government, at all levels, to promote the security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government. This is in accord with Article 3(2) of the Kampala Convention on IDPs in Africa, ratified by Nigeria on 17th April 2012, which requires States Parties to adopt and implement national legal and policy frameworks on the protection, compensationand assistance of IDPs. Article 4 of the Convention levies on State Partiesthe primary duty of ensuring that all persons are protected against arbitrary displacement as a human right. Additionally, by virtue of the Convention’s Article 7, both parties in armed conflict are obliged to respect the provisions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights Law in the protection compensation and assistance to IDPs. Violators of the rights of IDPs shall be held responsible for their acts under both international and national laws ((The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended).
Upon ratifying the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on 20/6/1961 and the Additional Protocols 1and 2 of 1977 on 10/10/1988, Nigeria further domesticated the Geneva Conventions as an Act(Cap. G.3, Vol.7 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004).
The African Union (AU) also formally reinforced and adopted the UNHCR Guiding Principles and encouraged its member States of which Nigeria is one, to incorporate the Guiding Principles in their domestic laws, policies and legal frameworks on IDPs.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria as a signatory of the Geneva Convention on Human Rights and Kampala convention of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Africa, has not abided by Principle 3 of the UNHCR Guiding Principles for Internal Displacements which states that “National authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction.” The Convention further stipulates that “at a minimum, competent authorities should recognize the right of persons to be free from arbitrary displacement” (UNHCR, 2008).
We, The People of Efik Kingdom, wish to notify you that although the Nigerian State has an established legal and policy framework to guide her in her efforts to protect, assist and compensate IDPs as indicated in item #2.1 of this petition, she has failed in her duty to assume responsibility or implement the framework in the case of the Internally Displaced Persons of the Ikot Offiong Communities in violation of its 1999 Constitution and International Laws cited above. Our assertion is supported by the fact that 14 years after the armed assaults on Ikot Offiong, over 150,000 Ikot Offiong IDPs are still reside make-shift camp in Ikot Ekpo, Calabar Municipal LGA despite their expressed desire and appeals to the Nigerian State to be resettled in their ancestral homeland.
By her failure to provide timely humanitarian assistance to the IDPs of Ikot Offiong and other affected communities, as well as, not implementing the necessary framework contained in her 1999 Constitution that would protect the rights of the Efik People of Ikot Offiong against arbitrary displacement, the Nigerian State violates, in its entirety, the UNHCR Principles. The Cross River Government’s promises to provide an appropriate temporary settlement for the IDPs, and with the assistance of the Federal Government of Nigeria, resettle them in Ikot Offiong homeland but unfortunately such assistance is yet to materialize.
We wish emphasize that in contrast to the prevailing practices in Nigeria where the state and local governments argue over the responsibility for the Ikot Offiong IDPs to the detriment of the affected people, Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and Principle 3 of the UNHCR Guiding Principles for Internal Displacements places this duty squarely on the shoulders of the National Government and demands that “National authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction” (UNHCR, 2008) and further stipulates that: “at a minimum,” competent national authorities should fulfill the following:
1. Recognize the right of persons to be free from arbitrary displacement.
2. Penalize arbitrary displacement in domestic law under circumstances in which it amounts to a crimeagainsthumanity or war crime in accord with the Rome Statute.
3. Take penal and administrative measures to ensure compliance with relevant rules of international
humanitarian law, including rules on the conduct of hostilities and the duty to distinguish between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives.
4. Adopt disaster policies that not only regulate response but also focus on disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
5. Include in national development plans and resettlement policies a clear statement that forced
displacement or relocation induced by development projects must be authorized by law, justified by compelling and overriding public interests, required to protect those interests, and carried out with full respect for the human rights of affected persons.
6. Also include provisions on the procedures through which any such displacement or relocation will be effectuated, available remedies including resettlement and compensation, and the right to administrative or judicial review.
Cross River State is located in the South-South Geo-Political Zone of Nigeria. It shares her western boundary with AkwaIbom, Abia, and Ebonyi states. She is flanked northerly by Benue State and easterly by the Republic of Cameroon (See attached Map). During colonial times a large part of south east Nigeria as far as Aba, was under the administration of Calabar Province . As Nigeria evolved more subdivisions were created. Since these sub-divisions were not made strictly in accordance with ethnic affiliation, the Efik People of Calabar Province were shared out into Uyo Province and Aba Province respectively, while the Efik People of Eniong, Ito, Ukwa and Edere were parceled into Arochukwu Division. By the 1920s, Efik People started agitating to join their kith and kin in the Calabar Province and this led to the creation of a Native Court at AtanOnoyom in Eniong. The Efik People were finally granted their wishes at the end of the Nigerian Civil War by the Nigeria Boundary Commission (NBC).
The Nigerian landscape is dotted with cases of ethnic/tribal conflicts and violence. One of the major causes of tribal boundary conflict is hunger for land as these disputing communities are primarily farmers and fishermen who depend primarily on land and water resources for their sustenance. Unfortunately Cross River State is part of Nigerian landscape that is besieged by cases of inter-community boundary conflicts and ethnic/tribal violence due in part to the political administrative development of Nigeria along with dwindling land resources and massive population explosion necessitating the scramble for farmlands especially during the planting season. After the “old” Cross River State was split into AkwaIbom State and the “new” Cross River State, dispute emerged over the demarcation of local government areas that were split between the new state border. Tension ensued between the Ibibio ethnic group in Itu LGA, AkwaIbom State and the Efiks in Odukpani LGA, Cross River State. The inter-community conflicts have escalated since the 1970s and 1980s and become rampant in Nigeria since 1999. In the case of the Efik indigenes of Ikot Offiong in the Mbiabo Wetlands in Cross River State and Oku-Iboku in AkwaIbom State tensions flared over boundaries that had been adjudged by an AkwaIbom State High Court to belong to Ikot Offiong, Cross River State. This resulted in the assault of the Ikot Offiong community by the Oku Iboku people leading to heavy casualties, and displacement of Ikot Offiong community from her ancestral lands.
Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world because of their capacity for promoting and fostering farming and agricultural development. Mbiabo Wetlands is the ancestral home of the Ikot Offiong IDPs of Efik lineage. The dominant vegetation of the Mbiabo community Wetlands, along the Odukpani-Itu Bridge in Cross River State, is the rain forest while fresh water swamp forest occupies the coastal areas. This area is known for its rich base for many agricultural products.
Okpiliyaet. al. (2012), attribute the cause of the Mbiabo inter-communal dispute to factors such as boundary conflicts due to limited land and land resource for agricultural or fishing purposes, and population increase in the area. The limited land use that emanated following the creation of AkwaIbom State and boundary demarcation, was further intensified by the Nigerian land mass of 3km2 with its resulting reduction of land use for agriculture. To further complicate the problem, the acquisition of a vast piece of land in the Mbiabo wetland geographical area in 1986 by The Nigerian News Print Manufacturing Company (NNMC) for its factory, further exacerbated the already limited farm land and resources. The disputes were also compounded by some individuals who inflamed and capitalized on them as means of scoring political points with the existing governments and other interested parties. These events precipitated inter- communal war between the residents of the two communities who were left with limited land resources for cultivation and sustenance.
The assault on Ikot Offiong started as a controversy over demarcation of Local Government Areas (LGA) in Cross River State and AkwaIbom State surfaced after the “Old” Cross River State was split into two States – “new” Cross River State and AkwaIbom State in 1987.The Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the old Cross River State were shared such that Itu where Oku Iboku is situated belonged to AkwaIbom State andOdupkani in which Ikot Offiong is located belonged to Cross River State. But a controversy soon emerged as to the exact boundary demarcation. While the line of demarcation was thought to be naturally the Cross River, however, some in AkwaIbom State insisted that the border was a point further eastward of Cross River at Okpokong River, about five kilometers away. This disagreement resulted in a severe tension between the people of Oku Iboku in the Itu LGA of AkwaIbom State and the Efik people of Ikot Offiong in the Odukpani LGA in Cross River State who shared the boundary. The tension mushroomedinto the persistent and vicious, bloody attacks on the Ikot Offiong Community by the people of AkwaIbom State. As a consequence, the Ikot Offiong/Oku Iboku boundary dispute has produced one of the worst and persistent cases of IDP problems in Nigeria today as evidenced by the number of IDPs still being housed in makeshift camps.
4.CASESAND INCIDENTSOFVIOLENCE, ETHNIC CLEANSING ANDGENOCIDE
The Ikot Offiong and Iboku Oku inter-communal conflict resulted in genocide with accompanied loss of many lives including women and children. Houses and markets were burned down and/or demolished and vehicles travelling along the Calabar-Itu Highway were set ablaze and property along that corridor also razed to the ground. During the farming season of 2000, the Ikot Offiong Village was razed to the ground, children, women and old people were killed those left alive were kidnapped by the invading people of AkwaIbom State and brutally tortured in the most inhumane manner. These fatalities were reported as acts of genocide by major Nigerian newspapers since the violence involving significant fatalities was inflicted on people of Efik origin onlyin an effort to annihilate theirethnic group and force theEFik people out of their ancestral land. (90 Feared Dead in AkwaIbom, Cross River Clash, This Day, 2000, Retrieved April 5, 2014 from http://allafrica.com/stories).
In 2012, no fewer than 40 persons were killed, while four riot policemen and the village head of NtanObuUkpe in Eniong of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State were reported to have been beheaded by the Ikpanya people in Ibiono Local Government, AkwaIbom State in a renewed communal clash between the two communities. Also commenting on the invasion of the Ikot Offiong community by the people of AkwaIbom State, the Paramount Ruler of Odukpani Local Government Area, EkanemUmo, said, “it started for some time now. The last incursion was so large in destruction. The fight had left the community completely destroyed, broke down the whole village and spares only the church but there is nothing inside the church” (Punch, 2012). The vicious bloody attacks on the Ikot Offiong community and the bloody massacre and ethnic cleansing by the people of AkwaIbom State has led to one of the worst and persistent cases of IDP problems in Nigeria today as evidenced by the number of Ikot Offiong IDPs still housed in make shift camps in Odupkani LGA fourteen (14) years later.
5.PRESS REPORTS ONTHE VIOLENCE &GENOCIDEAGAINST IKOT OFFIONG IN CROSS RIVER
STATE BY THE PEOPLE OF AKWA IBOM STATE
The International and National Press including the BBC reports described the horrific attacks thus:
a. “Sometime in early 2000, according to some respondents and newspaper reports, some unknown persons suspected to have been deployed from Oku Iboku attacked Ikot Offiong, razed property and sacked the community. Unconfirmed reports say scores of people were killed in that incident. An ancient Presbyterian Church in Ikot Offiong that became a refuge for fleeing residents was equally razed. Ikot Offiong inhabitants became internally displaced and ran across the Cross River to their Efik kin in Cross River State. That attack was in response to a decision of an AkwaIbom High Court, which ruled in favour of Ikot Offiong in a land dispute with their Oku Iboku neighbours” (Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC, www.internal-displacement.org).
b. “After embracing truce, feuding Oku-Iboku and Ikot Offiong communities, yesterday headed again for the war scene with at least 50 houses razed and several persons wounded. Previous clashes between the foes over land disputes had claimed several lives while property worth millions of Naira was destroyed”.(BBC, Dec.10, 2000).
c. “The entire Ikot Offiong community has been displaced twice: first from their ancestral home and next in Usung Esuk, in Odukpani LGA of Cross River State where they had gone for refuge. For Ikot Offiong, the entire village was destroyed and has been rendered uninhabitable with the alleged planting of gmelina in the area. It would perhaps require extra efforts to resettle them on the same spot as many of them insist on going back to their ancestral home… “ (IDMC, 2013)
d. “No fewer than fifty persons were penultimate weekend reportedly killed at Inuakpa Okoyons near Calabar, following the protracted crisis between the people of Oku Iboku and their Ikot Offiong neighbours ….” (Daily Trust, April 30, 2004).
e. “Today the internally displaced persons from Ikot Offiong are harboured in an abandoned housing estate in Ikot Ekpo, Calabar Municipal LGA, a property that the new owners the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) are threatening to take possession of soon. This serial displacement has precluded the Ikot Offiong community from carrying out their traditional fishing and farming. Their children are also no longer able to continue their education.” (IDMC, 2013; www.internal-displacement.org).
f. ‘Mbiabo Ikot Offiong IDPs gathered on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in a prayer session in search for Divine intervention to end their “suffering”, to be returned to their ancestral homeland and “to mark the 14th year anniversary of the inter communal conflict that forced them to abandon their homeland.” ‘The Ikot Offiong Village Head described their situation as pathetic. “Since the past 14 years, we have been suffering; our people are dying; and we pray that God will help us return to our place”.’ ‘A youth leader, Mr. Okon Philip also called on both the Cross River Government and the Federal Government to come and rescue them from their present refugee status. Okon said that the people of the community have suffered both physical and psychological problems since the past 14 years that they were chased out of their land. “We want to return to our land which was taken away from us by the people of Oku Iboku of AkwaIbom since 2000,” he said.’ (www.crossriverwatch.com, May13, 2014).
1999: Land resource dispute between Ikot Offiong in Cross River State and Oku Iboku in AkwaIbom State.
1999: The Cross River State Government commenced sued the AkwaIbom State Government in the Supreme Court of Nigeria over the boundary dispute involving Oku-Iboku and Ikot Offiong and other communities in Odukpani LGA (No. SC.124/1999) and won in the Supreme Court Judgement rendered in June 2005.
2000: AkwaIbom High Court Judgment in favor of Ikot Offiong (2000)
2000: The Ikot Offiong-Oku Iboku war escalated in response to the AkwaIbom High Court judgment in favor of Ikot Offiong people, with resultant carnage that devoured Ikot Offiong communities, significant fatalities among Efik children, women and men. Due to the complete destruction of their geographic communities by the Oku Iboku people of AkwaIbom State State, Ikot Offiong displaced people sought refuge in the Odukpani LGA.
2000: 90 Feared Dead in AkwaIbom/Cross River Clash (This Day, 2000).
2000: Efik father and five of his sons beheaded by the people of Oku Iboku in a communal feud (Postal Express, 2000)
2001: Ikot Offiong indigenes who fled their habitual residence to take refuge in neighboring Usung Esuk within the Odukpani LGA were attacked by armed militia from AkwaIbom State and the village destroyed, rendering many people homeless and causing new IDPs; and Ikot Offiong IDPs fleeing for their lives for the second time.
2002: IDPs from Ikot Offiong reportedly housed in an abandoned housing estate in Ikot Ekpo, Calabar in
deplorable conditions with disruption to quality of life, economic viability and sustenance for the Ikot Offiong community and disruption of their children’s education.
2004: Twelve People killed in Itu-Iboku reportedly by people from Ikot Offiong following another attack
of Ikot Offiong community
2005: Nigeria Boundary Commission resolves the boundary dispute between AkwaIbom and Cross River State in acommunique in Uyo, AkwaIbom (Daily Champion, May 18, 2005)
2005: The Supreme Court of Nigeria delivers judgment in favour of Cross River State on its civil action against AkwaIbom State involving the boundary disputes between Oku-Iboku in Itu LGA and Ikot Offiong in Odukpani LGA (LPELR-SC.124/1999).
2012: Forty People killed and four Policemen and the Village head were beheaded in NtanObu, Eniong.
2014: Fourteen years later, Ikot Offiong IDPS are still housed in make-shift camps in Ikot Ekpo in Calabar.
2014: The IDPs of Mbiabo Ikot Offiong held a prayer assembly seeking God’s intervention in their quest to return
to their ancestral homeland.
7.INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT OF IKOT OFFIONG IDPS OF EFIK ORIGIN AND ITS IMPACTS
During the violent armed conflicts and genocide in which several of the Efik People of Ikot Offiong were brutally slaughtered by the people of AkwaIbom State, some kidnappedand others forced to abandon their habitual homestead, houses and properties were destroyed, looted or burnt down and infrastructures severely damagedto preventthem from being able to return. It is worth mentioning that the attacks targeted only Ikot Offiong peopleof Efik origin with the goal of exterminating theirrace. Most IDPs now live in the abandoned housing estate in Calabar which means being deprived of their homes and their land, farm land, which provide their primary source livelihood since they are farmers, hunters and traders. They lackready access to basic necessities of life such as adequate supply of food, water and shelter.
While some efforts are made by humanitarian and faith-based organizations and government agencies to address some of the basic needs of IDPs, their vulnerability tend to be increased by barriers to accessing healthcare services, education, employment, economic activities and information for participation in decision making affecting their lives. With some IDPs camped in make-shift camps, the education of their school-age children is disrupted.
Ladan, M.T (2011) contends that IDPs in Nigeria face “insecurity and all forms of exploitation and abuse, including rape, having camped in congested shelters, isolated, insecure or inhospitable areas. IDPs are also largely separated from their families especially, unaccompanied children and teenagers, the elderly and sick, the handicapped and pregnant women, whose special needs and privacy are not attended to, due to fragmented and uncoordinated humanitarian response to the needs of IDPs.” The Efik People of Ikot Offiong are currently subjected to the fate, daily.
The author further states that IDPS in situations such as that in which the Efik People of Ikot Offiong currently find themselves, are also challenged by lack of access to justice, whether in relation to cases of human rights violations such as discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, sexual violence, and deprivation of means of livelihood. He argues that even when the situation of most IDPs improves, potentially durable solutions have remained out of the reach of specific groups with particular needs or vulnerabilities. These include the elderly or sick people, widows barred from recovering the property they had lived in, or members of minorities facing discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion or whose livelihoods depend on a particular attachment to their areas of origin or settlement. “For such groups, strategies or incentives that had encouraged others to move towards a durable solution may not have been effective or accessible, and the tailored support they needed to rebuild their lives was not available” (Ladan, 2011).
In support of Professor Ladan’s summations, We The People of Efik Kingdom, wish to state that the serial displacement of the Ikot Offiong people of Efik origin has prevented them from engaging in their traditional means of livelihood and sustenance – fishing, farming and trading. Many of their children’s education have been stagnated as the children are no longer able to attend school. Some of them have not had the time to grieve the death of their loved ones who were killed in the carnage. Many of the IDPs, including women and children, need medical and psychological or psychiatric care critical to the eventual recovery of those suffering from trauma. Additionally, with the advent of the 2015 local government and presidential elections, it is doubtful that the over 150,000 IDPs will be able to exercise their constitutional rights to vote or contest in the elections.
8.WEAK GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
Following ferocious armed attack and Genocide inflicted on the Efik People of Ikot Offiong by the People of AkwaIbom State, over 150, 000 children, women and men of Efik origin who fled their habitual residents toCalabar Municipal LGA are currently housed in camps in Ikot Ekpo Village.The condition at the Ikot Ekpo camp where the IDPs are housed is deplorable due to overcrowding, inadequate medical supplies, and lack of adequately trained personnel. As reported by the Guardian Newspaper in 2000, during a recent visit to the camp by the Nigerian Red Cross Society, the Branch Secretary of the organization, Mr. EgwuObin, condemned the living condition at the camp and appealed to the State Government “to look for a way of resettling them permanently”. The mission of the Red Cross, he said, is to alleviate the suffering of the people, adding that it will do more to assist the Ikot Offiong people (Guardian, 2004).
Under Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and International Law, IDPs are the primary responsibility of the National Government. However, the Cross River Government has made several promises to provide an appropriate temporary accommodation for the Ikot Offiong IDPs, and with the assistance of the Federal Government of Nigeria, resettle them in their ancestral homeland. Unfortunately, the promises are yet to materialize. Fourteen years after they fled the mayhem in their homeland, their population has increased well over the original 150,000 and the IDPS are still housed in the temporary make-shift camps in Calabar Municipal LGA despite their expressed desire and appeals to the Nigerian State to be resettled in their ancestral homelands.
In addition, we wish to state that it is heartbreaking that the elected political representatives of the Ikot Offiong IDPs at the Nigerian House Senate and House of Representatives (National House of Assembly) have failed to adequately address the issues and challenges facing these IDPs who belong in their jurisdiction despite the existence of the 2005 Judgment of The Supreme Court of Nigeria in favour of CRS involving Ikot Offiong and other communities.
9.LEGAL RULINGS ON THE BOUNDARY DISPUTE IN FAVOUR OF CROSS RIVER STATE
Supreme Court of Nigeria Judgment (2005)
In 1999, after several failed attempts at an amicable resolution of the boundary disputes between the Cross River and AkwaIbom state, the Government of Cross River State (CRS) filed a claim (No. 40(3)) against AkwaIbom State Government at the Supreme Court of Nigeria in suit No. SC. 124/1999 on the land boundary dispute involving 24 villages asking the Court for (a) “A declaration that (the State) authority to exercise administrative, executive, legislative and judicial powers or functions in or over: (i) all cities, towns and villages in Odukpani Local Government and more particularly in ObotAkpabio (sic), Ikot-Offiong Ebiti, Asang, Okpo, AfiaIsong Plantation, Ikot Efa Beach, Etchentem, IdimNkem, NkpanUruk, Ikot Essien, Ekpe Inyang, Esuk Ediong, Mbiabo Ikot Edem, Mbiabo, MbiaboAbasiEfiari, MbiaboIkoneto, Ikot Nya, OduMma-Edem, Ikot Akpana, Okoho, AkwaEfe, AkpatreEfe, Odot Forest Reserve and Okpokong Bridge. (ii) all cities, towns and villages in Calabar South Local Government Area (particularly Alligator Island, James Island and other unnamed Islands) and Akpabuyo Local Government Area. and (iii) all cities, towns and villages in Bakassi Local Government Area…” and the Southern estuarine between the two states) are vested in the Government of Cross River State (to the exclusion of the Government of AkwaIbom State). The Plaintiff also petitioned the Court for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining all arms of government, officer, employees, appointees, agents and servants of the Government of AkwaIbom State, or any persons or authority established by law in force in Akwa-Ibom State from exercising administrative, executive, legislative and judicial powers in or over any part of Cross River State and more particularly the areas set on in paragraph 40(3)(a) above.
On June 24, 2005, the Supreme Court delivered a judgment in favor of Cross River State in respect of the claims relating to the 24 villages and towns including Ikot Offiong in which it declared “The result is that the towns, villages and communities in Odukpani Local Government Area as at 22-9-87 when AKS was created from CRS must continue to be a part of the same LGA and consequentially a part of CRS. The plaintiff’s claim No. 40(3)(a)(i) must therefore succeed.” In its ruling, the Court held in favor of CRS “that the disputed communities together with Odot Forest Reserve and Okpokong Bridge are in Odukpani Local Government Area of the present Cross River State. It is my view that the reference to Odukpani LGA in Part 1 of the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, includes the disputed communities and since the geographical boundary of the disputed communities extends to the Cross River, it is my judgment that the boundary between Akwa-Ibom State and Cross River State in the non-estuarine sector lies along the Cross River as depicted in the plaintiff’s plan exhibit CRSDSG 2” (SC.124/1999). The Cross River State Government won.
We, the undersigned People of Efik Kingdom, in the Cross River State of Nigeria submit as follows:
i. We are aware as stated in #2.1 of this petition, that the Nigerian State has a legally binding framework which consists of Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, Geneva Convention and the AU Conventionto aid her efforts to assist and protect IDPs. We humbly ask why this framework hasnot been implemented in the case of Ikot Offiong IDPs who fled their habitual residents in Ikot Offiong in 2000 due to armed violence and genocide and fourteen years laterare still housed in make-shift camps.
ii. The failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to exercise its “primary duty to protect and assist the Ikot Offiong IDPs as imposed by Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution also constitutes a contravention of Principles 3 of UNHCR Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement which states that “National authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction” (UNHCR, 2008).
iii. It is inexcusable that neither the Federal Government of Nigeria nor her agents has taken any appreciable measure to effect and or enforce the 2005 Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in case No. SC.124/1999 delivered in favour of Cross River State involving its boundaries dispute with AkwaIbom State.
iv. Additionally, the Nigerian State has neglected to enforce the land ownership rights of the Ikot Offiong IDPs and surrounding communities such as NtanObuUkpe, MbiaboIkonetoby deliberately refusing to provide a safe, secure and conducive living environment which would make it possible for them to return to their ancestral homestead. We view this failure to act as a violation of Principle 7 of the Guiding Principles of UNCHR which stipulates that “States are under a particular obligation to protect against the displacement of indigenous peoples, minorities, peasants, pastoralists, and other groups with a special dependency on and attachment to their lands” (UNHCR, 2008).
v. That as of the date of this petition in 2014, the Nigerian State, Cross River State and elected political representatives of the Odukpani Local Government Area in the Nigerian National House of Assembly have collectively failed in their roles and responsibilities to rehabilitate and resettle the IDPsof Ikot Offiong and other affected communities in their ancestral homeland in compliance with the provisions of the Geneva and Kampala Conventions regarding IDPs, Principle 3 of the Guiding Principles of UNCHR and Section 14 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution.
vi. We consider it contrite, inconceivable and hypocritical that the Nigerian State and the same elected political representatives of the Odukpani LGA, who took an oath at their “swearing in” ceremonies to protect their people have abandoned the Efik People of Ikot Offiong in their time of need.
vii. It is disappointing that 14 years after their forced displacement from their “place of habitual residence” due to “armed invasion” by the people of Oku Iboku of AkwaIbom State “based on policies of ethnic cleansing,” no effort has been made by the Federal Republic of Nigeria or its agents to resettle the Efik IDPs of Ikot Offiong and others similarly affected in their rightful ancestral homeland in compliance with Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and Principle 6(1), 2(a);(b) of UNCHCR IDPs Guiding Principles.
viii. We affirm that based on the preceding assertions, Nigerian State’srefusal to abide by her own Constitution, UN Human Right Laws and her obvious expression of apathy on the plight of the over 150, 000 Ikot Offiong IDPs including children, women and the elderly despite the existence of the Nigerian Supreme Court Judgment of June 24, 2005 ((LPELR-SC.124/1999) in favour of Cross River State the Nigerian State sends two clear messages: (1) Efik People as a whole are of no significance to the Nation, and (2) it is acceptable for Nigerians to murder and disrupt the lives of other Nigerians within Nigeria but objectionable for a foreign nation (Cameroon) or its people to kill or destabilize the lives of Nigerians. The implications of these messages by the Federal, State and Local Governments of Nigeria to whom we entrust our protection are, to say the least, frightening.
We the People of Efik Kingdom pray that you use your good Offices and authorityas the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria to:
1. Execute your statutory mandated duties by deploying a permanent security presence at Ikot Offiong and environs to enforce the 2005 Nigerian Supreme Court Judgment in favor of CRS in case No. SC. 124/1999 to provide protection for the people of Ikot Offiong and its environs and serve as a deterrent to future conflicts and fatalities in the Mbiabo Wetlands.
2. Fulfill the duties and responsibilities imposed on you by the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and International Law by implementing the Legal and policy framework stated in item #2.1 which demands the protection, assistance and compensation of the Ikot Offiong IDPs of Efik of origin.
3. Resettle the Ikot Offiong IDPs in their ancestral homeland, end their horrors of displacement and compensate them for their losses. State of Nigeria in accordance with the Geneva and Kampala Conventions
4. Use the power inherent in the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and the International Laws to work cooperatively with local and elected representatives of the warring communities in managing and monitoring the implementation of conflict resolution to resolve the inter-communal conflicts and oversee the effective implementation of any court judgments pertinent to the Oku Iboku/Ikot Offiong Conflict.
5. Meet the demands of the Ikot Offiong Communities as contained in the Communique issued at the end of the Seventh Regular Meeting of the Presidential Joint Committee on the Management of AkwaIbom and Cross River Inter State Boundary held at Uyo, AkwaIbom State on the 12th and 13th May, 2005 listed below should be implemented by the Nigerian National Government as required by Principles 3 of UNHCR Guiding Principles ((UNHCR, 2008, pp11) effective immediately in order to minimize, prevent and eradicate future conflicts, unnecessary bloodshed, loss of life and property:
(a) That the Federal Government (of Nigeria) should “assist Cross River State Government in the reconstruction of houses, and provision of pipe borne water , electricity and other social infrastructure” in Ikot Offiong to facilitate the resettlement of our Internally Displace Persons.
(b) That the Cross River State Government and Odukpani Local Government should “assist the people of Ikot Offiong with farming, fishing, other agricultural implement” and the financial assistance need to enhance the livelihood of the displaced children, women and me in their Ikot Offiong homeland.
(c) That the Federal Government of Nigeria should “use its authority to allow the cause of justice to prevail on Oku Iboku people to respect and abide by the Federal Court of Appeal Judgment” which legally granted the Cross River State “the right of title of the lands on both banks of Cross River”.
(d) That the Cross River State Government should “prevail on the Federal Security Agencies, the Army, and the Police Stations at the Bridge head, end of the Odukpani territory to stop Oku-Iboku people and their agents from further trespass and exploitations of farm Lands and Forest Reserves” which belong to the Ikot Offiong people.
(e) That Federal Government of Nigeria,should deploy “security personnel at the bridge-head to allow the people of Ikot Offiong free access to their farm-lands during to bring succors to their livelihood during the farming seasons without molestation”.
(f) “That Your Eminence in conjunction with the Paramount Rulers of Efik origin and AkwaIbom State Traditional Ruler’s Council, with due respect invoke Traditional Injunctions on the people of Ikot Offiong and the people of Oku-Iboku, this to maintain long lasting peace, harmony and security and to fare-stall future invasion or any form of aggression by the people of Oku-Iboku”.
(g) That Cross River State Government should “as a matter of concern carry out the directives of the National Commission for refugees earlier enumerated….”
(h) That AkwaIbom Government should “be committed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to pay the internally displaced people of Ikot Offiong the sum of 50 billion Naira” (or the appreciated value as of today) “as compensation for damages and reparation”.
6. Cause the Cross River State and Odukpani Local Government to provide land and establish police posts or barracks in locations within Odukpani LGA that would permanently house law enforcement agents of the Nigerian state assigned to provide security so that the exiled Ikot Offiong IDPs can return home and live in their ancestral homeland without fear of being attacked and killed.
7. Arrest, prosecute and convictthose involved in the commission of the heinous crimes against the Efik people of Ikot Offiong and humanity.
8. To collaborates with the Cross River State Government and AkwaIbom State Government to establish inter-State efforts towards reconciliation.
1. Dr. Bernadine Asuquo Ahonkhai (Ahonkhai@aol.com)
2. Mr. Bassey Asuquo, MBA
3. Dr. Patrick Asuquo
4. Mr. OffionBassey Offiong
5. Mr. Ekpo Bassey Etim
6. Mr. EssienIta Offiong, Jr.
7. Mr. EffiomEyoNsefik.
8. Mrs. Grace Ita Offiong.
9. Mr. EffiomEyoNsefik
10. Mr. Ekpo Etim Bassey
11. Mrs. Valerie Oyetayo
12. Mr. YinkaOyetayo
13. Mrs. AsariBasseyEdem
14. Mr. Anso Ekpenyong Bassey
15. Mr. Essien Edet Etim
16. Mr. EfiomEssien Offiong
17. Rev. Asuquo Effiong
18. Mr. Ita Ekpo Eyo
19. Dr. Etim Ita Essien
20. Mrs. Akon BasseyUmo
21. Mrs. Nyong Etim Effiong.
22. Mr. EfiokOtudor
23. Chief Richard Effiong
24. Mrs. Joan Effiong
25. Mrs. AtaiNyambi
26. Mr. Ekpenyong Eyo, Jr.
27. Professor Asuquo Ukpong
28. Mr. Ita Effiom
29. Mr. Augustus Edet
30. Chief Patrick Ekong
31. Mr. IkpemeIkpeme
32. Dr. OnoyomUkpong
33. Mrs. AffiongEkong
34. Mrs. Offiong Edet Glover
35. Mrs. Ida Ita
36. Mrs. Winifred Eyo
37. Mrs. Grace Ukpong
38. Dr. (Sir) Steven Bassey
1. Dr. António Guterres
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
2. Mohammed Bello Adoke
Attorney General of Federation & Minister of Justice
Shehu Shagari Way, Central Area
Telephone: +234 9 523 5208
Fax: +234 9 523 5194
3. Mohammed VikkoAbubakar
Inspector General of Police
Nigerian Police Force Headquarters
Shehu Shagari Way
Louise Edet House, Central,Abuja
Tel No : 08038305707, 092340868,092341709,092340756
4. Senator David A. L. Mark
The President of The Nigerian Senate
The Nigerian National House of Assembly
5. National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons
Federal Secretariat, 1st Floor
Annex 1, Shehu Shagari Way
Tel: 09-5233536; 5235901
6. His Excellency Liyel Imoke
Hope Waddell Avenue
P. M. B. 1056
Calabar, Cross River State
7. Nigerian Human Rights Commission
No.19, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria
P.M.B. 444, Garki-Abuja, Nigeria
8. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 917 9220
9. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Rooms S-1310, 13th Floor
New York, USA
10. Ambassador Sam Ibok
Director of Peace and Security
Africa 1 Division
Department of Political Affairs
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY 10017
11. The Speaker
Office of the Speaker
Nigerian National Assembly
12. His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Out V, Obong of Calabar
Palace of the Obong of Calabar
7 Efanga Ansa Street, Henshaw Town
Calabar, Cross River State
CALPROF 1-54: Calabar Provincial Office: first Batch (35,831 files, 1891-1963). Calabar Province was created in 1914 and was made up of the following Districts and Divisions: Abak, Arochuku, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, Itu, Opobo and Uyo. In 1959 Calabar Province was split into Calabar, Uyo and Anang Provinces… In 1915 Opobo and Afikpo Districts were transferred to Calabar and Ogoja Provinces respectively. Source: National_Archives_of_Nigeria%2C_Enugu
UYODIST 1-14: Uyo District Office (675 files, 1901-60).Uyo station was opened in 1905 and was then known as Aka. In 1914 Uyo became part of the Ikot Ekpene Division. In 1959 it was constituted into a Province. Source: National_Archives_of_Nigeria%2C_Enugu
Geneva Conventions, 1949 and Additional Protocols 1-2, 1977
Bankindo, B.M (1993) The Management of Nigeria’s Internal Boundary Questions, Joe Tolalu & Associates Nigeria Ltd., Lagos
United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, 1998
Nigerian Emergency Management Agency Act (NEMA Act), 1999
British Broadcasting Corporation (2000, December 10) Nigerian boundary flares up again. Retrieved on April 3, 2014 from http://www.irinnews.org/report//nigeria
This Day (2000).90 Feared dead in AkwaIbom, Cross River Clash. Retrieved April 5, 2014 from http://allafrica.com/stories/200005210095.html
This Day (2000).Nigeria: Communal Clash Claims 60 Lives in C/River. Retrieved April 6, 2014 from http://allafrica.com/stories/200005180265.html
Postal Express (2000, May 20). Father, Six Sons Killed in Renewed Communal Clash. Retrieved April 5, 2014 from http://allafrica.com/stories/200005200086.html
Ita, B. (2004, April 30) Nigeria: “50 killed in AkwaIbom communal clash”. Retrieved April 5, 2014 from http://www.allafrica.com/stories
The Guardian (2004, May 12). Red Cross Cares for Ikot Offiong. Retrieved on April 5, 2014 from http://news.biafranigeriaworld.com/archive/2004/apr/12/013.html
Daily Champion (2005, May 12). NBC resolves boundary dispute in AkwaIbom, Retrieved on April 5, 2004 from http://allafrica.com/stories/200505180225.html
Cap. G.3, Vol. 7 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Federal Republic of Nigeria, Abuja (2012 – July): – Revised Draft National Policy on IDPs in Nigeria.
Cap. N.34, Vol.10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Human Rights of IDPs under the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Cap. A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
UNHCR (2008).Internally Displaced Persons. Retrieved April 3, 2014 from http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c146.html
Brookings Institute (2008). Protecting Internally Displaced Persons: A Manual for Law and Policymakers. Retrieved March 30th, 2012 from http://www.brokings.edu/research/reports/2011/10/host-communities-columbia-idp
UNHCR (2009, October 22). African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa.Retrieved April 3, 2014 from http://www.unhcr.org/50f9551f9.html
African Union (AU), Kampala Convention on IDPs in Africa, 2009.
Ladan, M.T., Legal and Policy Imperatives for the Prevention, Protection, Assistance and Durable Solution to the Plight of IDPs in Nigeria, published in African Yearbook on International Humanitarian Law (2011) Juta and Co. South Africa, at pp. 79-106.
Brookings Institution (2011).The Effects of Internal Displacement on Host Communities. Retrieved March 30th, 2014 from http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2011/10/host-communities-colombia-idp
Alhassan, N., (2011): – Response to IDP Protection in Nigeria: – Emerging issues, challenges and Prospects, Abuja. 21-22 November, 2011.
IDMC (2012).National Instrument on Internal Displacement. Retrieved from www.internal-displacement.org
Ndem, B. et al (2012). Resolving Resource Conflict In Nigeria: A Case of Cross River State And AkwaIbom.Retrieved on March 30th. 2014 from http://www.arabianjbmr.com/pdfs/OM_VOL_2_(3)/2.pdf
Okpiliya et.al., (2012).Wetland ecosystem conflict: Implication for agricultural productivity and food security in Mbiabo, Odukpani, Cross River State, Nigeria, Prime Journal Of Social Science (PJSS), Vol.1(18), pp154-1600.
Punch (2012, May 29). AkwaIbom, Cross River Land Dispute Clash Claims 40 Lives. Retrieved on April 3, 2014 from http://www.punchng.com/news/aibom-criver-land-dispute-clash-claims-40-lives/
Bonchuk, M. O. (March, 2014) “Inter-Stateboundary conflicts in Nigeria” in “Governance and Border Security in Africa”, edited by Celestine Oyom Bassey. Oshia O. Oshia
Naijamayor(2014). 40 People Killed, Village Head Beheaded In Cross River State Communal Clash. Retrieved on April 3, 2014 from http://naijamayor.com/40-killed-village-head-beheaded-in-cross-river-communal-clash/
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
Ikot Offiong People Remain Refugees. Retrieved on May 13, 2014 from http://www.crossriverwatch.com/
The Supreme Court of Nigeria’s Judgment in favour of Cross River State on its
civil action involving the land boundary dispute against AkwaIbom State (2005).
The Supreme Court in an unanimous decision stated: Communities paragraph 40(3)(a)(i)
“It is my view, that whatever flaws that might have been attendant with in the transfer of the communities concerned, they were de facto transferred from Itu Local Government Area to Odukpani Local Government Area. The transfer was effected in 1983 before the old Cross River State was split. There is no evidence that at the time of the transfer the disputed communities or the people of Itu LGA protested. It does not seem that the Governor could wake up one morning and proceed to alter indiscriminately, the existing local government structure without justification. The presumption is that the Governor in making the 1983 order, acted in the best interest of the people of the entire area of the old Cross River State. There is a provision in section 4(l)(d) of the Cross Rivers State Law No.9 of 1983, for the alteration of the composition of a Local Government Council. It seems to me too late in the day for Akwa-Ibom State to complain about the transfer of the disputed communities which was effected more than 20 years ago. It is in the interest of both parties that the status quo as at 1987 when the two states were created be maintained. That position is that the disputed communities together with Odot Forest Reserve and Okpokong Bridge are in Odukpani Local Government Area of the present Cross River State. It is my view that the reference to Odukpani LGA in Part 1 of the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, includes the disputed communities and since the geographical boundary of the disputed communities extends to the Cross River, it is my judgment that the boundary between Akwa-Ibom State and Cross River State in the non-estuarine sector lies along the Cross River as depicted in the plaintiff’s plan exhibit CRSDSG
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