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Akwa Ibom government decries failure to publish report on border hostilities

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Ekpo

The Akwa Ibom State Government has said that the National Boundary Commission (NBC) should be held responsible for any resurgence of hostilities between its indigenes and their neighbours in Abia State.

The Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, made the comment yesterday while speaking to newsmen on the crisis between the border communities in Ini/Obot Akara Local Council of Akwa Ibom State and their counterparts in Ikwuano Local Council of Abia State.

According to him, the failure by the NBC to publish the report of the border-tracing exercise it carried out in those areas could lead to resurgence of hostilities.

Ekpo, whose office is in charge of boundary matters, said that it took the personal intervention of the two deputy governors to maintain what he described as “a fragile peace” at the border of the two states.

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He, however, said reports at Akwa Ibom government’s disposal from both the police and the chairman of Ini/Obot Akara local council indicated that the situation had been put under control with no life lost.

The deputy governor cautioned that because of the close affinity of the people of the border communities, any action taken must be such that will foster peaceful relationship among them.

“The situation is very fragile and a delicate one worsened by the fact that they are a closely-knitted people who are bonded through blood and social integration, hence the need to protect and preserve the sanctity of such bonding through an expedited peaceful resolution of the border issue.”

Ekpo said that hope should not be lost as measures were being put in place to stem escalation of hostilities. “Myself and my counterpart in Abia State are exploring means of using community, local council officials and leaders to mediate for peaceful co-existence.”

He appealed to the NBC to give priority to the conflict and return to the border communities to complete and publish its report on the field tracing exercise in the best interest of peace, equity and respect for the sanctity of human lives.

Ekpo also urged the federal authorities to, as a matter of urgency, establish a police post at the Ini/Obot Akara and Ikwuano border axis to forestall future skirmishes.

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