By Timothy Ekpo
The Akwa Ibom government has applauded the traditional institution and other key stakeholders for assisting in the resolution of over 40 years-old boundary dispute between EdemIyere in Ikono Local Government Area and the neighboring Ibiaku Itu in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
The deputy governor and chairman, State Boundary Committee, Mr. Moses Ekpo, who gave the commendation during a meeting with the councils’ chairmen, traditional rulers and community leaders of both local government areas, which took place at Government House, Uyo, acknowledged the important role played by the Traditional Rulers Council in resolving the conflict.
Ekpo said, “I pay tribute to you, the two strong paramount rulers and to let you know that the government regards the whole traditional council of the state and the role they play as very important.”
Describing conflict resolution as a right step in the right direction, the deputy governor observed that the idea of constructing a road on the disputed land would help attract development and progress to the areas for the benefit of the people.
“I thank God and thank you because what seemed impossible has come to a peaceful ending. If Akwa Ibom has been peaceful, it is because the TRC has sacrificed to make it possible,” the State Boundary Committee chairman noted.
“What you have done is no mean feat, we have crises in other places which are unresolved, but you have achieved it. I do hope that it sends a message to others for them to emulate so that we can move forward as a State”, he emphasized.
He maintained that after the resolution of the 75-year-old boundary crises in Onna Local Government, Ikono and IbionoIbom would be the second group able to resolve an age-long boundary issue in the state and advised all warring communities to embrace peace in the state.
According to him, “If our communities are not peaceful, we cannot say that we are peaceful”.
Ekpo advised the Traditional Rulers Council to collaborate with community leaders and his office to draft a Memorandum of Understanding within three weeks for both parties to sign, as it had become necessary to document the resolutions for the sake of future generations.
The chairman of Ikono Local Government Area, Mr NyaknoOkoibu, was elated at the peaceful resolution of the age-long crises, saying, “It will be on record that it was during your time that the Edem Iyere and Ibiaku Itu Udo crisis was resolved, and that is because of the peaceful disposition of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration.”
“We are glad that what seemed impossible has been made possible during this dispensation”, he added and appreciated his colleague, the community leaders from both sides for their ceaseless contributions, and Ibiono Ibom people for accepting to resolve the conflict peacefully.
His counterpart in Ibiono Ibom, Rt. Hon. Ekopimo Edet, thanked the deputy governor especially for his fatherly role and insistence on peace for the two communities, as well as the paramount rulers and all those who made the peaceful settlement possible.
“Let history be made today that the efforts of the government and even past leaders has not been in vain”, he posited.
Edet explained that as the root of Ibibio nation, Ikono and Ibiono Ibom had no reason to have been involved in any form of crises whatsoever.
The paramount ruler of Ikono, HRM, Edidem E. Itang, was full of appreciation to God and all the parties who sacrificed for the peaceful resolution of the age-long crises.
He noted that as sisters, the two local governments should avoid any form of dispute and continue to live peaceably as they did before the crises erupted.
Recalling the many years of prolonged court cases due to the crises, the paramount ruler of Ibiono Ibom, HRM, Edidem, Dr. Ime Inyang, said he was elated to be alive to witness the peaceful resolution of the dispute.
Edidem Inyang noted that many persons had wished to witness the end of the conflict between the two local governments failed, but was however thankful to God that the crises did not claim any life as witnessed in other places.