Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi Fail to Reach Consensus on Boundary Disputes

0

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

Attempts by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to settle the lingering boundary disputes between Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers States as well as between Cross Rivers and Ebonyi States may have ended in deadlock.

Osinbajo was yesterday in a closed-door meeting with Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers as well Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State alongside officials of the National Boundary Commission for about an hour in the State House.
However, after the meeting, all the three governors emerged wearing long faces an indication that no agreement was reached.

The governors also refused to volunteer information to journalists. If the countenance of the governors was anything to go by, there was obviously nothing to cheer from the meeting.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, also told State House correspondents that there would be no interviews after the meeting.

When newsmen attempted to approach Ayade and Umahi to find out details of the meeting, they met a brick wall, as both governors hurriedly left the Presidential Villa.

The boundary dispute between people of Oku Iboku in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom and those of Ikot Offiong in Odukpani LGA in Cross River had last month resulted in the death of no fewer than twenty people.
The two communities were said to have used light and heavy weapons during the fight which begun the night of February 10th

Most of those killed were reportedly from Ikot Offiong after Oku Iboku youths ambushed them in the attack and chased them to the neigbouring Odukpani community.

The fighting held travellers along the Calabar-Itu Highway for hours on Saturday, February 11th until the arrival of soldiers, who drove the fighting youths away to make way for smooth movement of motorists and commuters.
The fight was said to have been the third since December last year.

In the case of Ebonyi State, Umahi had last month appealed to the federal government to quickly intervene and provide lasting solution in settling the boundary dispute between the people of Azuofia Idda and Ohene in Ebonyi and Cross River States respectively, which had claimed many lives.

According to him, strong political will from both states was needed in resolving the problem which he described as well known and age long.