War-weary people of Obot Itu in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom have indicated their willingness to live in peace with the Obodio community in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Clan Head of Itu, Chief Nyong Inyang, stated this during a sensitisation exercise by the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to pave way for final demarcation of the boundary communities.
Obot Itu Clan is one of the communities in Itu that has been in boundary conflict with Ikot Offiong in Cross River State.
Inyang said the people of Obot Itu and Obodio had been living together for centuries.
He noted that since 1914 when the crisis began, the people of Obot Itu had been deprived of their means of livelihood.
He said all the court judgments given from 1914 till date between Itu and Obodio communities had always been in favour of Itu people.
“The Obot Itu and Obodio are people of the same kindred and had been living together for ages.
“We urge government to intervene for peace to reign in the area. Let justice and equity reign in the boundary communities.
“The people are molesting our women and our farmlands taken away from us,” Inyang said.
The Clan Head also appealed to the state government to repair the road in the community because of its deplorable condition, adding that the road would revive the economy of the area.
In his remarks, Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, said the Federal Government is set to finally put to rest the boundary dispute among communities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states by placing a demarcation mark on the boundary.
Ekpo, who was represented by a Permanent Secretary in his office Mr Nkopuruk Ekaiko, said on July 11, this year, there was a joint meeting between the warring communities of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in order to sensitise members of the boundary communities to final boundary demarcation arrangements.
He said government would not rest on its oars until all neighbouring communities live in peace.
He appealed to the people of Obot Itu Clan and other boundary communities to remain calm and eschew violence.
“The boundary demarcation is not meant to divide communities that have been living together for decades but for administrative purposes.
“You must co-operate with government in its efforts to ensure peace and bring development to your communities’’, Ekpo said.
Ekpo assured the people that government remains committed, firm and just in
the demarcation exercise without ceding communities to one another.
The Deputy Governor, who is also the Chairman of the State Boundary Committee warned youths not to allow anyone to use them to foment trouble.
He urged the women to advise their children to desist from acts capable of disrupting the peace during the demarcation exercise.
Earlier, Mr Marcel Ukweni, Zonal Liaison Officer, South-South zone of the National Boundary Commission (NBC) said the purpose of the commission was to preach peace, as it was the only condition that guarantees meaningful development.
Ukweni reiterated the commission’s mandate to ensure that peace reigns in all boundary communities of the federation.
He said: “Boundary is an imaginary line not to demarcate people, not a wall but a mark on the ground for the administrative convenience of both Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.”
In his remark, Akwa Ibom State Chief Resident Surveyor, Mr Bala Ipalibo said a boundary was not intended to restrict movement or hinder means of livelihood.
He urged the Obot Itu Clan to co-operate with government in the demarcation exercise as it would bring meaningful development to the area.