21 dead in Akwa Ibom and Abia boundary clash
It was tales of woes as the Usaka Ukwu and Azuncchai communities of Ikwuano LGA counted their dead in the hands of their Akwa Ibom neighbours over a land dispute.
Addressing select media yesterday, stakeholders from the area, including traditional rulers, the local government Chairman, Chief Steven Mpamaugo, President Generals, Chairmen of Development Associations among others lamented that between May 2020 and January 22, 2021, 16 Usaka Ukwu and four Azunchai people were killed by their Nkari people of Ini and Oboto Akara LGA in Akwa Ibom.
According to Usaka Ukwu people, three amongst the army personnel who were in the area to make peace were attacked and wounded by the Akwa Ibom people who also allegedly took their vehicle and riffles, adding that one of the hospitalized has died.
The President General of Usaka Ukwu, Chief B.C Mgbaramuko disclosed that the “greedy expansionist objective” of the Akwa Ibom people, with the support of their state government has even “surveyed our land where the Army from the Ohafia military Command established a military checkpoint.”
According to him, farming activities in the area has stopped due to fears of their Akwa Ibom neighbours. He pleaded with the National Boundary Commission to step in for “proper delineation of the original boundaries” and called on the Akwa Ibom Government to compensate the families of those killed by its people between May 2020 and January 2021.
They also sought for the establishment of police/military checks along all the strategic spots and called on the Abia State Government to step up its commitment in settling the matter with its Akwa Ibom counterpart and the Federal Government through the National Boundary Commission.
However, the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has seriously warned that his government will not yield an inch of Abia territory to neighbouring states with expansionist agenda, stating that his administration shall use every lawful means to protect and safeguard every inch of the territory of Abia State.
The Governor stated that he responded to distress calls from the community on the invasion of their homeland by hoodlums from both a neighbouring community in Akwa Ibom State, adding that the lingering boundary is before the National Boundaries Commission adding “until a final determination is made, the area remains in Abia State”.
All efforts to get the Army PRO in the state, Major Kadiri to react proved abortive as phone calls and text messages put across to him remained unanswered.