By Aplefe Ojong and Ogar Monday
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has appealed to the people of Wanihem and Wanikade communities of Ukelle North, Yala Local Government Area of the State to eschew acts capable of disintegrating them but to promote peace and unity for the overall growth and development of the state.
Governor Ayade who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu made the appeal during his meeting with the people of the two communities while on an inspection tour of the affected sites of the recent communal clashes between Wanihem and Wanikade in Yala.
He said that the state government will ensure that the boundary between the two communities will be clearly demarcated to avoid future occurrence of communal clashes between the two communities, and charged them to continue to live as brothers.
The Governor who lamented the deplorable state of the road linking the communities of northern Ukelle with the Oju Local Government Area of Benue State assured that the state government will do something about the situation.
Ayade stated that the state government is not happy over the crisis between the two communities which have lived as brothers for several years and consoled the people over their losses during the conflict, adding that more relief materials will be given to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as compensation.
The Governor thanked the Security agencies for responding fast to putting an end to the communal clash and also maintaining peace and order in the communities, adding that the people should go about their legitimate business without fear of molestation.
He said, “I also want to charge you all to shun those fanning the embers of disunity and those perpetrating the acts will be brought to book. I want you all to remain law abiding citizens and allow vengeance to God.”
Speaking at the occasion, the Paramount Ruler of Yala Local Government Area, HRM Ogamode Odey Ipoule, thanked the Governor for the efforts made towards restoring peace in the two communities and also the relief materials given to the people, adding that the two communities should live as brothers.
The Royal father expressed sadness that after several peace moves that took him to the area for more than seven times, the people resorted to physical confrontation, leading to loss of lives and property, stressing that war is an evil wind whose aftermath is sorrow and destruction, and stated the need for the people to embrace the peace move being initiated by the state government to put an end to the problem.
Similarly the Clan Head of Wanihem Community, HRH, Kirken Ulakom, said that the cause of the crisis is boundary demarcation which has lingered over the years and that the government should ensure that an end is put on the issue.
Also speaking, one of the community leaders of Wanihem, Dr. Christopher Lukpata thanked the Cross River state Government under the leadership of Senator Ben Ayade for responding promptly to the situation with relief materials and security personnel’s to keep the peace in the area, and called for a permanent solution to the problem, while also appealing to the state government to do something urgently about the state of the road to give the people a sense of belonging.
On his part, the Clan Head of Wanikade, HRH Ubet Okom Stephen Ogede suggested that an Army Barracks should be sited in the disputed land to end the problem, and also called for peace and unity between the two communities.
In his remarks, the former Vice Chairman, Yala Local Government Area, Mr. Fred Okom thanked the Governor for restoring peace and reiterated that the government should resolve the boundary issue once and for all.
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