FG set to end 40-year old Akwa Ibom, Cross River boundary dispute
Hope of ending the protracted boundary dispute between Oku Iboku in Itu Council of Akwa Ibom and Ikot Offiong in Odukpani council of Cross River States, has brightened with the recent Federal Government recent intervention on the matter.
Director General, National Boundary Commission (NBC), Dr Muhammad Ahmad, who disclosed this at the joint Sensitization/ Enlightenment campaign of border communities of Itu/Odukpani Sector at the bridge head, said the Federal government has already set machinery in place to bring to an end, the over 40-year tussle.
The two councils have been enmeshed in boundary dispute for many decades, with the recent one claiming many lives and property between February and March on both sides.
According to the Director General, the escalation of the dispute resulted to the intervention of the Acting President, who directed his office to set in motion lasting settlement procedures after meeting with stakeholders from the two states in Abuja.
He stressed that NBC has embarked on sensitization of all stakeholders to midwife a final demarcation of boundary and prepare the people’s mind to embrace peace.
According to him, with the East West rail line from Lagos to Calabar proposed for the area, it has become expedient for peace to reign in the area if development must thrive.
He therefore called on the two states, traditional institutions and other stakeholders to take home the message of peace and reconciliation to their communities to prepare ground for actual demarcation.
Speaking on behalf of the government and people of Akwa Ibom State, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo commended the federal government for its thoughtful intervention and insisted that Akwa Ibom and Cross River States are from one stock and therefore have no reason to fight and kill each other.
Ekpo insisted that, misunderstanding should not cause the people who are seen as brothers and sisters to shed blood.
Similarly, his Cross River State counterpart, Prof. Ivara Esu called for peace across the country, stressing that, Cross River State government is determined to ensure that peace reign in the state for progress and development to be achieved.
Speaking on behalf of Itu traditional institution, the Paramount Ruler of Itu, Edidem Akpan Inyang expressed optimism that the peace mission
would be pursued to a logical conclusion.
He stressed that the desire of the people had always been to live in peace with their neigbours so that the carnage could be brought to an end. The Chairman, Odukpani Traditional Rulers council and Clan Head of Ekim/Uyi clan, Odukpani Local council of Cross River State,
HRM Etinyin Ekeng Okon Nyong said the people have lived together for over 100 years and had no justifiable reason to fight.
Highlight of the peace meeting was the exchange of symbolic gifts between the two states to express their level of acceptance for an enduring peace in the two local government council areas.