As some communities in Akwa Ibom State renew their agitation against the “State Map Establishment Bill” which was passed by the immediate past State House of Assembly on April, 13, 2023, Governor Umoh Eno has warned them to channel their grievances to the court.
The dust raised by the bill which sought to extend some landlocked LGAs (Esit Eket, Eket, Onna, Mkpat Enin, and Ikot Abasi) through the Obolo lands (Mbo, Ibeno, and Eastern Obolo) being the littoral region of the state, to the Atlantic Ocean, is yet to settle.
Many communities of Obollo nation had vehemently kicked against the bill, staging a couple of protests with claims that the state government had an intent of arrogating their ancestral land of Obolo to other communities.
One of the agitating communities, Unyenge in Mbo Local Government Area in a statement jointly signed on Tuesday, by its chairman, Mr. Itama Ekpe, Secretary, Kanny Nkwobia and Spokesperson, Bassey Etim expressed resentment over the Bill and urged the state to refrain from it for peace to reign.
They said, “As much as we, the Obolo, are peace-loving people, we will not hesitate to invoke all legal tools and civil procedures to fight for the maintenance of our ancestral territory should the government proceed with this unreasonable and inconsiderate bill”.
Youths of Eastern Obolo on their part had blocked major roads, such as the Okorette Junction and oil companies operating in their area in protest of the Bill, threatening to use any possible means to ensure that the bill does not see the light of the day.
But, Governor Eno has sued for peace over the issue and tasked youths and community leaders to maintain peace rather than instigate crisis between communities.
He warned that all those orchestrating violent attacks would be smoked out and made to face the wrath of the law.
The Governor reasoned that since the courts were hearing cases on the issues bothering on the mapping, it would be in the interest of peace to allow the courts exercise their jurisdiction rather than fuel crisis that would hinder progress and general development in the state.
The Governor spoke while addressing a cross section of government officials and stakeholders who converged on the Latter House Chapel, Governor’s Lodge, Uyo, for the June edition of Government House Monthly Prayer Summit.
He said, “Let me speak on the mapping. I know communities have gone to court; when the case is in court, peace should reign.
“Yesterday, pictures of what happened in some places were all over the social media and people were saying there’s trouble going on. Please the cases are in court and we trust our courts, let the status quo be maintained.
“Let’s allow peace to reign, nobody is coming to drag you out of your land. All the fireworks should be taken to the courtroom. Let’s allow the court cases to finish. Let’s not go and instigate any community.
“Advise your community leaders and everyone that there should be peace. Let’s not fight. Any community that attacks another community would receive the wrath of the law.
“Community leaders would be called out for such incidents. Please we should maintain peace.”