The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), in Akwa Ibom State has called on the Akwa Ibom state government to take over all disputed lands in the state in order to bring to an end clashes, deaths and destruction of properties.
The call was made by the Chairman of the group, Comrade Franklyn Isong, while speaking with newsmen in Uyo the state capital yesterday.
He observed that these senseless clashes have led to innocent citizens losing their lives, love ones and properties stressing that such lands could be put to use by government to attract development to the area.
He explained that the acquisition of such lands by the state government would bring about peace and economic benefits not only to the affected communities, but also to the local government area.
“Under the Land Use Act, every land in the state is vested in the hands of the Governor. The Governor holds the land in trust for everybody, so when the land is becoming a source of conflict and crisis, the best way out is for government to take the land and invest in the land so that it will bring peace to the community.
“Allowing the land to become a source of anarchy where lives have been wasted, people have been killed, maimed and it has become like a lawless environment is not the best.
“The Deputy Governor of the state is the Chairman of the State Boundary Commission, he should ensure that the matter is resolved. He should make a pronouncement, barricade the area concerned and make it a state government land.
“We had a similar issue in Uruan and today the state government is now planting tomatoes there. It is a very vast land and now feeding the entire state. So instead of allowing the land in these communities to cause problems and become a source of anarchy, CLO is urging the state government and the Governor who holds the land in trust for every community to take over the land, and cite an industry or other economic activities for the youths,” he said.
The CLO Chairman noted that allowing the communal crisis in Uko Akpan Enwang and Ntighe Uda villages in Mbo local government area and others to linger in the state could scare away prospective investors to the state.
Besides, the group recalled how the lackadaisical approach to similar issues in Ika and Etim Ekpo area councils eventually snow-balled into lasting security problems which took years to resolve.
Meanwhile, the Government has condemned the rising incidences of communal clashes in the state and has vowed to deal with the culprits.
The revelation was made during the executive council meeting held in Uyo recently.
According to the Commissioner of information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, “exco seriously frowned at frequent communal clashes witnessed in the state, and promised to decisively deal with culprits”.
Before the executive council reached this decision, the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo and the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem had at different fora’s threatened that government would stop supporting such communities with relief materials or take over the disputed land, even as they urged the communities to sheathe their swords and live in harmony.