AK deputy governor says ‘Decree 23, architect of boundary crisis in Nigeria’

Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, has identified the promulgation of decree 23 of 1985 as the bane of the lingering boundary crises across the country.

He made this assertion during the Joint Sensitisation and Enlightenment campaign visit of officials of the National Boundary Commission to the border communities of Akwa Ibom/ Abia interstate boundary, held yesterday at the Forward Operations Military Base in Ika Local Government Area.

He therefore called for a total review of the decree by the National Assembly.

According to him, the decree amounted to an administrative error as it was wrong for people to stay in far away places and demarcate areas, they had no idea about, without considering the consequences of such action on the relationship of the people living in such areas.

Ekpo explained that drawing boundary lines to create a bridge between siblings was not in any way promoting a peaceful coexistence between warring communities.

He called on warring communities to sheath their swords until final boundary tracing and demarcation was concluded by NBC, advising that such would bring about peace and reduce skirmishes that could lead to loss of lives.

“Don’t let a piece of land lead to taking the life of any person because it is not worth it”, he admonished.

He appealed to the NBC and the Nigerian Army to dismantle any visage of identification supporting ownership claims by both parties in order to ensure peace while carrying on the process of boundary determination.

In his remark, the Deputy governor of Abia State, Mr. Ude Chukwu, attributed most of the boundary crises across the country to criminality by undesirable elements and called on security operatives to arrest and prosecute such perpetrators.

He called for a mob up of arms from those who are not licenced to carry arms and illicit drugs as the duo played major role in fuelling crises.

He commended his counterpart in Akwa Ibom for his efforts at ensuring a peaceful resolution of the boundary crises.

“Of all the States I have boundary issues with, I’m closest to the Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor, who is willing to sacrifice anything to promote peace”, he stated.

Mr. Chukwu appealed to the communities to exercise patience and allow the National Boundary Commission to do the needful.

Earlier, the Director-General of the National Boundary Commission, Mr. Adamu Adaji said the NBC was in the state to broker peace between the two communities.

He commended the efforts of the two states in maintaining peace at their common borders.

“We are here on a peace mission to preach peace and for you to embrace peace as all Nigerians are free to live anywhere in Nigeria.

“The causes of crisis are due to none determination and demarcation of boundaries between the two states and both parties desire that boundaries be properly determined.

“I want to assure you that we are determined and willing and will very soon commence the definition of the boundary”.

The Director General called on the youth leaders from both communities to embrace peace, stressing the need for Peace and security Committees to be established in both states with membership drawn from relevant agencies.

According to him, the NBC takes the Akwa Ibom/Abia States boundary crises as one of the volatile interstate boundaries in Nigeria, because it has records of high rate of threat to peace and in some cases, loss of lives.

He therefore appealed for the support of the affected communities and called on them to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign so that the Commission can be encouraged to define the state boundaries.

The Council Chairmen of both Ika Local Government Area, Mr Malachy Ukpeh and Ukwa East, Mr Chuks Wabara, as well as community leaders also spoke at the occasion.

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