By Archibong Jeremiah
His Majesty, Muri Munene Effiong Okokon Mbukpa, Paramount Ruler of Efut Kingdom, Cross River State has formally affirmed that there is no qualms between him, his kingdom and the Paramount Ruler of the Efiks, Obong of Calabar and the Ndidem of the Quas maintaining that they are all equal.
His Majesty, the Muri Munene bared his mind in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch and called on government to carry his people along in the dredging of the Calabar channel.
Recently we gathered that there is existing feud between you and the Obong of Calabar regarding who is superior, how true is that?
No, no the Obong is not superior to me, neither am I to him and the Ndidem of the Quas, we are all the same; I am the Paramount Ruler of the Efuts, what Obong of Calabar is to the Efiks and same to the Ndidem of the Quas to Qua people. In any way none of us is superior; the basis for comparison is not there at all, nothing is linking us apart from Calabar.
Can you be more explicit as to where your jurisdiction covers?
As to our survey plan of 1953 the Efut Kingdom is my territory; from Edibe-Edibe to your right down to Goldie, Goldie to your right, right away to the river. You come back to Edibe-Edibe down to Ibesikpo, same right down to Etim Edem to Idang, the Efut nation have common boundary with Oron.
Talk of your territory extending into the river as Muri Munene?
My territory is within Calabar South, some part of Calabar Municipality, Creek Town in Odukpani and some parts of Bakassi, a greater part of Bakassi.
Talking of your territory in respect to the dredging of the Calabar channel, is the Federal Government really carrying you along as the major owners of the water ways?
No, they are not taking us along, nobody has come to discuss the dredging of the water with me but I remember some time ago in 2006, then I wasn’t the Muri Munene but I was representing him in the Calabar Traditional Rulers Forum; this issue of dredging was the bone of contention. The three paramount rulers formed that forum but because they could not be attending, I was representing the Muri Munene while the present Obong of Calabar and Etubom Efiok were representing the then Obong of Calabar, the Ndidem was coming because usually the venue for the meeting was always his place. The Obong knows and the government gazette clearly shows who owns most of the water ways, I feel courtesy demands that whoever is in charge ought to call the Efuts to be partakers of what is happening there. I hear they have started employing people already to do manual jobs and others and our young men need jobs there too. The sand that will be harvested there will be dumped on our territory, what I mean is that whoever is in charge should have given us some recognition as to the dredging of Calabar waters, the water deities we are talking about are all Efut deities, so I don’t have issues with the Obong of Calabar my relationship with him has always been cordial.
If the situation remains the way it is what action will your people take?
We will do everything legal to challenge those in charge.
What do you think is responsible for them ignoring you?
What I know is that there are some people in government who don’t want us to be consulted but there is God and He is watching.
What level are you with the case of who is truly the Muri Munene between you and Prof. Hogan Ita?
The matter is still in court both in Appeal and High Court; none of them have challenged me that I am not what I say I am but the reverse is the case because I am the one saying so and both cases are mine. I am saying you are not the person but they are saying nothing, the appeal court had said I am who I say I am, and I have asked them if they are not happy with the appeal court judgment they should go to supreme court and appeal the judgment.
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