The people of Eastern Obolo Local government Area of Akwa Ibom State have expressed their anger over the acquisition of their only land by the state government for the coconut plantation.
The people lamented the sitting of the refinery project that occupies a large expanse of land in a riverine community like Eastern Obolo which has 75% of it land in the waters.
Speaking with news men in Uyo, the President of a sociocultural organisation in the area “Obolo Me Obolo” Mr Emmanuel Paul alleged that there is a plan to exterminate Eastern Obolo people from the state.
Explaining he said, “I know you may not really want to hear this. Sometimes government would want to cite a project that the people really do not want. You know that 75% of our land is in the waters.The place that we have land is in Amadaha, Okorette, and two other places. Why would government site a project that will take plenty of land away from the people?
He argued that, “There is a grand plan to exterminate Eastern Obolo people from Akwa Ibom State. There are some of our brothers who believe that we should not be in Akwa Ibom State, and the reason is very simple that Akwa Ibom do not love Eastern Obolo people because of the oil that we have. This should not be a cure but a blessing”
Paul who pointed out the progress and development of Obolo people in Rivers State, declared that the people of Eastern Obolo have chosen to remain in Akwa Ibom State.
And reacting to the issues raised, the state government through the commissioner of Lands and Water Resources, Mr. Ime Ekpo said the place in question is a disputed area between the people of Eastern Obolo and Mkpat Enin LGA, adding that any disputed land automatically belongs to the state government.
Said he, “The area in question was in dispute between the people of Eastern Obolo and Mkpat Enin LGA. You know any disputed land belongs to the state government. This particular disputed land was not sufficient for the refinery. That is why we had to go to the extent of acquiring other land for the plantation. Why we have not paid compensation is because the indigens have not allowed the surveyors to complete their work.”
“Without the surveyors completing their work we cannot pay compensation. Compensation on the land that has not been surveyed. They have even injured some of the surveyors in the process” Ekpo said.