Indications have emerged that the age-long boundary conflict between the people of Itu in Akwa Ibom State and their Ikot Offiong neighbours in Odukpani, Cross River State would soon be brought to an end as the National Boundary Commission wades into the crisis.
Akwa Ibom State Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel gave the indication when he played host to a five – man delegation from the National Boundary Commission and office of the Surveyor General of the Federation led by the Director General National Boundary Commission Dr Mohammed Ahmed at the Executive Council Chamber, Government House, Uyo.
He noted that commissions of enquiry had been set up to investigate and review the boundary crisis with reports submitted without implementation, and called on the commission to review the reports and make appropriate recommendations with a view to resolving the contentious boundary issues and put an end to incessant destruction of lives and property among the two states.
Governor Emmanuel condemned attempt by some states to distort the already gazetted map to favour them in their geographical locations stressing that such acts are inimical to the peace process and urged the commission to make independent findings and rely more on the gazetted map to give a final resolution .
He pledged the State’s determination to uphold peace without mortagaging her territorial boundaries and expressed the hope that the sensitization campaign would unravel perpetrators of the violent clashes.
While welcoming the team to the State, Governor Emmanuel described the visit as a timely intervention in the disputting land, and expressed optimism that the sensitization programme would afford the two states opportunity to present their cases to enable the commission resolve issues bothering on the contentious land.
Earlier, the Director General, National Boundary Commission, Dr Mohammed Ahmed, stated that they were in the state on a sensitization programme which would enable the two states reach an agreement on the demarcation of the disputed land which has led to destruction of lives and property.
He assured that the team would be fair in its decision and used the occasion to canvass government’s support for the success of the exercise.
Dr Ahmed who was accompanied by the Director Internal Boundaries National Boundary Commission, Surv. Adamu Adeji and Director Internal Boundary, Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation Surv. George Tekari, spoke of the giant strides of the state administration and commended Governor Emmanuel for the spate of development witnessed in the state thinking him for the hospitality accorded the team on arrival in the state.
Also speaking, the Surveyor General of the Federation Ebisinter Awudu, commended the Governors of the two states for their maturity and peacful disposition saying that the sensitization campaign would broker peace and bring about a permanent solution to the crisis.
Present at the courtesy visit were Deputy Governor Mr Moses Ekpo , Secretary to the State Government Sir Etekamba Umoren, Head of Civil Service Mrs Ekerebong Akpan, Members of the State Executive Council, State Surveyor General Mrs Emem Isang and Permanent Secretaries.