Two warring communities in Akwa Ibom, Nung Oku Ekanem and Afaha Ubium have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to end the 55-year-old boundary dispute between them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two communities are in the Onna Local Government Area of the state.
The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Moses Ekpo, witnessed the signing of the MoU at the palace of the Paramount Ruler of Onna, His Majesty Edidem Raymond Inyang, on Tuesday.
Ekpo, who is also the Chairman of the state’s Boundary Committee, said that the peace brokered between the two communities would promote healthy living and attract development to the area.
He condemned the unwarranted loss of lives and property occasioned by incessant communal clashes across the state, saying that “such evil wind never blows anyone any good’’.
The deputy governor commended the communities for seeing the need to sheath their swords and embrace peace.
He called on other communities in the state involved in one crisis or the other to emulate Nung Oku Ekanem and Afaha Ubium communities and toe the line of peace.
“I have always said that only warring communities can end their boundary crises and win peace for their areas.
“What you have done is a great honour to your son, the governor of the state and your children will grow up to call you peace-makers.”
Ekpo assured the communities that the State Government would look into the report and recommendations of the peace committee and do whatever was necessary to ensure permanent peace in the area.
He also commended the peace committee, led by the paramount ruler of Onna for their prompt action in settling the age-long feud.
The deputy governor noted that the peace that the Supreme Court could not secure for the area over the years had been accomplished in record time by the peace committee.
The Chairman of the Peace Committee and Paramount Ruler of Onna Community, Edidem Inyang, expressed appreciation to God and the State Government for wading into the matter and supporting the committee to succeed in its assignment.
Inyang thanked the village heads of both communities for their cooperation, calling the communities to respect the boundaries set by the state.
The monarch warned against further trespass on the disputed land.
Mr Imo Atat, the Chairman of Onna Local Government Council was excited that the signing of the MOU would end years of fighting and bloodshed in the area.
He thanked the government for its intervention.
In their separate responses, the village head of Nung Oku Ekanem, Eteidung Ntiense Nda, and that of Afaha Ubium, Eteidung Samuel Adiakpan, expressed their delights for being part of the history-making event.
They said they were happy to sign the signature of peace and leave a lasting legacy behind, while praying God to sustain the peace.
Also speaking, Mr Nkopuruk Ekaiko, the Secretary of the Peace Committee and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor, appealed to the State Government to consider immediate construction of roads in the area and payment of compensation to victims of the age-long crises.
Members of the committee, including the state’s Surveyor-General, Mrs Emem Isang, the state’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Uduak Eyo-Nsa; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Mr Christopher Udoh, also appended their signatures to the MoU.