In a renewed effort to establish lasting peace and reduce the fears of hostilities amongst border communities, the National Boundary Commission (NBC) in conjunction with the government of Abia and Akwa Ibom states have convened a confidence building conference.
The conference is part of the strategies adopted by the NBC to promote strong ties amongst the communities dwellers that would give rise to peaceful coexistence between the states.
The Director-General of the commission , Surv Adamu Adaji while addressing the conference emphasized the need for collaboration between the sister states in the areas of embracing practices and norms that would lead to enduring peace amongst the warring communities.
Adaji stated that the inter-state boundary disputes between Abia and Akwa Ibom states dates back to several years this he stated caused the Federal Government to promulgate Decree 23 of 1985 in order to adjust the boundary on the recommendations of the ‘Kaloma Ali Boundary Ascertainment Commission.
Despite the efforts of the Federal Government, he stated that “the differences in claims and counter claims in the boundary alignment and the general perception of the interstate boundary have tended to create antagonism between the people who have blood relationship”
“The challenges of these conflicts is posing a major concern to the Federal Government, the National Assembly and all well meaning Nigerians”
The Director General opined that dealing with these challenges would require the collective resolve and commitment of all the parties involved.
He further said that the lingering impasse has unfortunately exacerbated over the years resulting in wonton destruction of lives and property due to the delay in the resolution of the boundary.
He reiterated that the Federal Government was committed and determined in permanently ending the impasse.
He added that it is hoped that with this conference which is primarily aimed at propping up sincere, pragmatic result oriented ideas, cooperation would be built amongst the boundary settlers.
“As a government Agency statutorily charged with the responsibility of resolving boundary disputes, we at the NBC strongly believe in the indivisibility of kiths and kind”. The Commission’s efforts over the years had been to reestablish the boundary in accordance with available documents”
He therefore appealed for calm and the support of the affected communities and allow peace for the resumption of the scheduled activities urging that they should be guided as a people with common destiny to live together in unity and love.
The Abia/Akwa Ibom interstate boundary is one of the volatile boundaries in the country and this has posed a high risk of threat to peace in the area.
There have been recent reports of conflicts involving the people of Ikot Udo in Ika local government area of Akwa Ibom state and Akrika Obu in Ikea local area of Abia state. government
Also, indigenes of Nkari in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state have been at logger head with the people of Usaka Ukwu in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia state.
Participants at the event include the Deputy Governor of Abia state Hon. Sir Uke Odo Chukwu and his Akwa Ibom counterpart Mr. Moses Ekpo who are the chairmen of the boundary committee of their respective states.
Others are states Commissioners, Aides to the Governors and Deputy governors, Local Government Chairmen, Ward Counsellors, religious leaders, traditional rulers, community leaders, youths amongst others.
Head Information Unit