… calls for a repeal of the law
By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government has blamed the promulgation of decree 23 of 1985 as the bane of the lingering boundary crises across the country, calling for an overhaul of the law by the National Assembly.
Deputy governor, Moses Ekpo stated this during the Joint Sensitization and Enlightenment campaign visit of officials of the National Boundary Commission to the border communities of Akwa Ibom/ Abia interstate boundary, held at the Forward Operations Military Base in Ika Local Government Area of the state.
The Deputy Governor noted that the decree amounted to an administrative error as it was wrong for people to stay in faraway places and demarcate areas they had no idea about, even without considering the consequences of such action on the relationship of the people living in such areas.
According to him, drawing boundary lines to create a bridge between siblings was not in any way promoting a peaceful coexistence between warring communities.
While calling for peace to be maintained until final boundary tracing and demarcation was concluded by NBC, he advised against the further eruption of crises in the area which could lead to further loss of lives.
“Don’t let a piece of land lead to taking the life of any person because it is not worth it”, he admonished.
Besides, Ekpo appealed to NBC and the Nigerian Army to dismantle any visage of identification supporting ownership claims by both parties in order to ensure peace, while carrying on the process of boundary determination.
For his part, the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu attributed most of the boundary crises across the country to criminality by undesirable elements and called on security operatives to arrest and prosecute such perpetrators.
While calling for a mob up of arms from those who are not licensed to carry arms, he also mentioned the major role illicit drugs play in fueling crises, acknowledging that most criminal activities are carried out under the influence of drugs.
He commended his Akwa Ibom State counterpart for his efforts at ensuring a peaceful resolution of the boundary crises.
“Of all the States I have boundary issues with, I’m closest to the Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, who is willing to sacrifice anything to promote peace”, he stated.
Chukwu equally appealed to the communities to exercise patience and allow the National Boundary Commission to do the needful.
The Director-General of the National Boundary Commission, Surveyor Adamu Adaji said the NBC was in the state to broker peace between the two communities.
He commended the efforts of the two states in maintaining peace at their common borders.
“We are here on a peace mission to preach peace and for you to embrace peace as all Nigerians are free to live anywhere in Nigeria”, he said.
He added, “the causes of the crisis are due to none determination and demarcation of boundaries between the two states and both parties desire that boundaries be properly determined.”
The Director-General called on the youth leaders from both communities to embrace peace, while also stressing the need for Peace and security Committees to be established in both states with membership drawn from relevant agencies.
According to him, the NBC takes the Akwa Ibom/Abia States boundary crises as one of the volatile interstate boundaries in Nigeria, because we have records of the high rate of a threat to peace and in some cases, loss of lives.
“I want to assure you that we are determined and willing and will very soon commence the definition of the boundary”, Adaji assured.
Council Chairmen of both Ika Local Government Area, Hon. Malachy Ukpeh and Ukwa East, Hon. Chuks Wabara, as well as community leaders also spoke at the occasion.
Vanguard News Nigeria