By Timothy Ekpo
NSIT IBOM/ IBESIKPO ASUTAN
The deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, has frowned at the unseriousness of two local government chairmen over efforts made by government to promote peace between communities with pending boundary issues in the state.
The deputy governor bared the position of government at Oboyo Ikot Ita in Nsit Ibom and Afaha Ikot Osom in IbesikkpoAsutan Local Government, where the two local governmentschairmen, Mr Eric Akpan and Mrs Akon Asukwo, failrd to attend the sensitization of the two communities over pending boundary matter.
Represented by the permanent secretary, Deputy Governor’s Office, Mr Nkopuruk Ekaiko, Mr Ekpo expressed displeasure over non-cooperative attitude of the councils chairmen to attend the meeting at their respective domain after they were duly informed through writing that the State Boundary Committeewould be at Oboyo Ikot Ita and Afaha Ikot Osom communities.
The deputy governor explained that if the two chairmen had had reasons not to attend the event, they could have taken excuse from his office, than exhibiting unconcerned attitude to the peace campaign, even after they were informed.
He said while the chairman of Ibesikkpo Asutan, Mrs Asuquo,delegated her presence to the supervisor on boundary and chieftaincy matters, the chairman of Nsit Ibom never showed up and never sent any representation.
The deputy governor said the presence of the councils chairmen at the event would have helped to address most of the issues raised by the communities and observations of the committee on the matter especially on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Oboyo Ikot Ita and Afaha IkotOsom.
On the sensitization proper, the deputy governor said the campaign tour on boundary flash point villages was apt because the planting season had set in and government was oblivious of the fact that farming on areas where issues on boundary were pending, would lead to another round of crisis.
Mr Ekpo warned that the destruction of lives and setting houses ablaze were serious criminal matters which government was determined to fish out the perpetrators and punish according with stipulated laws of the state. He told the youths to follow due process of reporting any boundary matter to their traditional rulers who, if unable to handle it, would seek the intervention of the local government chairmen and the office of the deputy governor.
The deputy governor appealed to communities to employ dialogue than taking laws into their hands as such crisis always deter development, breed insecurity which the present administration has made efforts to check by ensuring that the people live in peace.
At Oboyo Ikot Ita, the village head, Eteidung Sunday Ukpong, said although the office of the deputy governor had thought it wise to carry out the sensitization, the area was not having any boundary issue with Afaha Ikot Osom as the land had been surveyed by government to demarcate the two communities.
Eteidung Ukpong told the deputy governor that the MoJ could have been signed only that the notice on the process was not properly addressed, coupled with the inability of the chairmen of Nsit Ibom and Ibesikpo Asutan to work out the MoU process.
At Afaha Ikot Osom, the paramount ruler, HRH. EdidemFrancis Ekpenyong, said he was happy with what the Udom Emmanuel administration has done in the aspect of ensuring that peace was maintained in the state.
He said, as the paramount ruler of the area, he has made efforts to promote peaceful co- existence between Afaha Ikot Osom and Oboyo Ikot Ita in regard to the boundary between the two communities. Edidem Francis Ekpenyong said the MoU was delayed due to unforseen circumstance with the paramount ruler of Nsit Ibom.
He said they have the survey of the land and had solicited the paramount ruler of Uyo to fix a meeting between Afaha IkotOsom and Oboyo Ikot Ita to facilitate the process of signing the MoU. The paramount commended the office of the deputy governor on the exercise.
The youth leader, Akparawa Otobong Effiong, said while Afaha Ikot Osom has resolved to sustain the peace with OboyoIkot Ita, the process of the MoU should be hastened to seal the deal.