The Oku Ibom Ibibio and other monarchs in Akwa Ibom have declared total support for Governor Udom Emmanuel in his resolve of maintaining peace and guaranteeing the safety of lives and property in the state.
The declaration was made at a joint meeting of paramount rulers and clan heads, presided over by the Oku Ibom Ibibio and president general, Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM Ntenyin Solomon Daniel Etuk, in Uyo on Friday.
At the meeting, which took place at the Traditional Rulers Council Chambers, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo, the traditional rulers gave thumbs up to the governor on development and the general security situation in the state.
In same vein, the royal fathers urged security agencies to complement the disposition of the state government by beefing up security in some vulnerable areas such as Itu, Oruk Anam and Mbo Local Government Areas.
In his speech, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk stated that the Akwa Ibom, under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, has earned a reputation of being peaceful and called on traditional rulers to continue synergizing with the administration for enhanced results.
The patriarch of the Ibibios, however, stressed that security issues like the recent invasion and killings at Oku Iboku in Itu by assailants from Cross River should be addressed by security agencies.
He expressed confidence that the issue and others, including few communal clashes shall soon be addressed as he expressed hope in the capabilities of the state government and security agencies to curtail the situation.
The monarch also thanked the state government for paying attention to their welfare and expressed hope that issues of increased stipends and other concerns shall equally be addressed by government in due course.
Oku Ibom Ibibio further urged traditional rulers to be firm in their support of government’s policies and programmes, explaining that although traditional rulers have the right as citizens to offer suggestions to government in power, they should not indulge in antagonizing political authorities.
On the 2023 general elections, he called on monarchs in the state to preach peace and political tolerance in their respective domains and also advised them to remain apolitical by only playing advisory role to aspirants and the electorates.
The paramount ruler of Itu Local Government Area, HRM Edidem Edet Akpan Inyang, commended the traditional rulers’ council for bringing up the invasion and killings in his domain for discussion, pointing out that the issue has assumed a wider dimension as the attackers keep launching frequent attacks on Itu especially the Oku Iboku axis.
HRM Inyang called on the state government and Akwa Ibom people as a whole to rise in defense of Itu against the activities of mercenaries from the neighbouring state.
He particularly implored the government of Akwa Ibom and Cross River States to rise to the occasion by resolving the long-standing boundary problem as it affects Itu and Odukpani Local Government Areas.
Speaking also, the paramount ruler of Ikot Abasi, HRM Edidem Udo Joe Ntukobom, re-echoed the call for security to be strengthened especially in the riverine parts of the state.
The paramount ruler of Nsit Atai, HRM Peter Okon Effiong,noted that his relationship with his clan heads is very cordial and productive, thanking them for supporting his reign, while hoping for swift and permanent solution to concerns raised,especially the security situation in Itu.
The chairman, Assembly of Clan Heads in Akwa Ibom, His Highness, Etebom Ubong Okokon, appealed for improved welfare for clan heads, enhanced security of clans and villages, provision of a chamber for clan heads as well asoperational vehicle for the forum.
He pledged their support and loyalty to the Udom Emmanuel-led administration.
Other clan heads raised concerns bordering on provision of social amenities, negative effects of open grazing of cattle and cultism despite the ban by government.
The clan head of Ikot Ekpene Urban, His Highness, Obong Akpan Offong Udoidiong, particularly decried that his people were facing incessant attacks and destruction of farmlands by herders and cattle, and appealed that the Anti-open Grazing Law be enforced in the state.
The paramount ruler of Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, HRM, Edidem Clement Francis Ekpenyong’s suggestion that all resolutions reached at the meeting be documented and officially sent to the state government and security agencies for appropriate action was unanimously adopted by the house.
The president general of the Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council, Ntenyin Etuk, announced the adoption and applauded the paramount rulers and clan heads for converging to brainstorm on salient issues concerning the traditional institution and the state.