By Ushang Ewa
The federal government has called on the Ikot Offiong and Oku Iboku communities in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states to sheathe their swords and embrace one another in a bid to settle the crisis which has raged on for over half a century the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The Director General, National Boundary Commission (NBC), Muhammad Ahmad made the call at a joint sensitization and enlightenment campaign of the border communities held at the Odukpani-Itu bridge where he pointed out that the federal government was more resolved to end the dispute as it is planning a definite demarcation of the boundary as administrative limits for both states.
He said the sensitization forum was a follow up of similar meeting the acting President Yemi Osibanjo had with stakeholders from the two localities five months ago to midwife a final demarcation of boundary to prepare the people to embrace development which saw the governors of both states storm out of the meeting with long faces as reported by CrossRiverWatch.
“The federal government is not happy with the killing and destruction of property. That was why in February this year, the acting president who is the Chairman of the NBC called for a meeting with stakeholders from these areas, and from the meeting, we agreed to first of all carry out a sensitization of the communities and the actual demarcation of operational limit for both states,” Ahmad said and warned that development will not strive if peace did not reign.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governors of both states.
Professor Ivara Esu, the Deputy Governor of Cross River State said the government is determined to ensure that peace reign in the state for progress and development to be achieved.
“Those who kill people innocently should repent; else the wrath of God would be upon them. What more can we give to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State on his birthday than peace,” he said.
His counterpart in Akwa Ibom state Mr. Moses Ekpo, lauded the federal government for its intervention and pointed out that both states have been together since inception and had no reason to fight.
“Akwa Ibom and Cross River States have been together since the creation of this country. I want to assure you that the problem will be sorted out once and for all. I have always said the issue of water and land is not a creation of man, but God, therefore these things do not belong to us, but God,” Ekpo said and lamented that people fight but are buried in just a small piece of land.
The Surveyor General of the Federation, Ebisintie Awudu, promised that the boundary demarcation would be done without bias, and for administration purposes, will be done on ground with pillars for the state governments to know and plan for her people.
The Chairman, Odukpani traditional rulers council and clan head of Ekim/Uyi clan, Etinyin Ekeng Okon Nyon with his counterpart, the traditional ruler of Itu, Edidem Akpan Inyang exchanged gifts as a show of love with pigeons released afterwards to mark an end to hostilities.
Reports in the media suggest that no fewer than 100 people may have lost their lives in the recurring crisis between December 2016 and May 2017.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.