Unyenge community in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has threatened to resist any attempt by the state government to cede any portion of her land to another local government area in the ‘name of delineating state boundaries.’
It’s been observed that the “Akwa Ibom State Map Establishment Bill” passed by the State House of Assembly on April, 13, 2023, but awaiting assent by the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.
The development has generated a lot of controversies from the oil producing communities in the state.
Unyenge community in a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Itama Ekpe, Secretary, Kanny Nkwobia and Spokesperson, Bassey Etim and made available to our correspondent in Uyo on Tuesday, expressed resentment over the Bill and urged the state government to refrain from assenting to it for peace to reign.
The community threatened that being an integral component of Obolo Nation, it would not hesitate to denounce attempts to arrogate the ancestral land of Obolo to any community or local government in the name of remapping.
The statement noted that the bill was aimed at ceding parts of their land to other local governments for the selfish interest of government adding, “the Bill seeks 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.”
While threatening to seek legal redress if governor Udom Emmanuel goes ahead to give assent to the law, the people recalled that the court had already given a verdict restraining the state government from mapping, remapping or redrawing the map of the local governments with emphasis on the obolo land and wondered why the governor in collusion with the state house of Assembly would flout the court order.
According to the statement, “When the first attempt to remap or redraw the map of Akwa Ibom state with particular reference to the obolo lands (Mbo, Eastern Obolo, and Ibeno) surfaced through a motion moved by Hon. David Lawrence, a member representing Eket in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, the Obolo people instituted a lawsuit straight away against the Akwa Ibom state government, the House of Assembly, and the Surveyor General of the state as the defendants in suit no. hu/341/2021.
“They suitably defended themselves but regrettably lost out in the verdict delivered by his Lordship, Hon Justice Edet Akpan at the Akwa Ibom state High court, Uyo, on january 27, 2022.
“The defendants were restrained from mapping, remapping, or redrawing the map of the local government areas of the state, with an emphasis on the obolo land.
“However, the government of Akwa Ibom state has exerted an improper influence on the rubber-stamp state House of Assembly and exercise ultra vires with sheer non-compliance of constitutional provisions and went ahead to pass the dreadful map establishment bill even without recourse to constitutional procedures to annex obolo lands to other LGAs to pave way for them, especially his LGA (Onna), to have express access to the atlantic ocean so as to get categorized as host communities of offshore petroleum operations and partake in the prerogatives and privileges thereto as set forth in the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.
“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.”