By Jonathan Ugbal
Traditional Rulers, youths and government officials in Obudu Local Government Area and Vandekiya Local Government Area of Cross River and Benue States respectively have engaged in different meetings to settle the protracted Abonkib, Mbazerem and Mbaduku communal clash.
Abonkib is in Obudu while Mbazerem is in Kwande and Mbaduku in Vandeikya Local Government Areas.
The decades long hostilities between Abonkib and Mbazerem/Mbaduku was renewed in December after a tapper of Benue origin was declared missing and the Abonkib people were fingered.
On Christmas Eve, one Pius Akwaji from Obudu was also declared missing when he visited Vandeikya to receive the royalty from a Tiv farmer he leased his swamp to, for rice farming.
This caused motorists to divert from routes leading to Benue from the Obudu and Obanliku Local Government Area axis as commuters were constantly harassed. In one instance, Catholic priests from both States intervened to save a dozen passengers aboard one vehicle coming from northern Nigeria.
However, the Council Chairman of Obudu, Boniface Ewhe convened a meeting of Bette Traditional Rulers at the Civic Garden on December 28 where it was agreed that Obudu will not go to war.
The monarchs also set up a 30-man committee with Ukandi Utsu Augustine Nawa as Chairman and Chief Mathias Ake as Secretary.
The committee met on December 29th and reduced it’s recommendations into a report presented to Mr. Ewhe on Monday where the monarchs agreed on the need for both sides to meet frequently and iron out issues that may escalate to a war.
Mr. Ewhe is to meet his counterpart for further discussions as well.
ABONKIB Vs MBADUKWU CRISES: Hon. Eraye Ewhe receives report of committee of inquiry, set to meet with his Vandeikya LGA counterpart to profer lasting solutions to the lingering crises.
Council sources say similar efforts were made by the Mbaduku Home Development Front which blamed it’s former leadership for not acting on time to de-escalate the rising tensions.
While the remote cause has been the blurry delineation of the boundary between Abonkib and Mbazerem, the immediate cause is an argument over the felling of palm trees for tapping palm wine, which sources say led to the disappearance of the Tiv man.
And, at it’s last meeting for year 2021, the Mbaduku youth committee elected Orngu Joshua Orduen as the new youth leader.
Furthermore, Terkaa ‘Akawas’ Philip and Dennis Ahura were elected as Chairman and Secretary of the Home Development Committee respectively.
Also, on Sunday, The Director General of the Cross River State Boundary Commission, Noel Ugbong led a delegation including the Chairman of the youth council in Obudu, Stafford Utianlikong to Mbaduku for peace meetings.
The Director General Cross River State Border Communities Development Commission,Mr. Noel Ugbong and the Obudu Youth…
As at press time, Government House Sources said the Deputy Governors of both States with their counterparts across the federation were in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory for a meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo over the lingering boundary disputes across the country.
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