The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Moses Ekpo, has assured the people of Oku Iboku of protection from external aggression.
Mr. Ekpo gave the assurance to leaders of Itu Local Government Area during a meeting at the old executive chamber of the Government House in Uyo on Friday.
The meeting took place following renewed violence between Oku Iboku people and their neighbours from Ikot Offiong in Odukpani Local Government Area Cross Rivers State.
Over 20 people are reported killed since the crisis escalated two weeks ago.
Mr. Ekpo said the state government was alive to its responsibility of caring for the needs of people from the affected communities.
While agreeing that the crisis had defied solutions put in place by past administrations, he expressed hope Governor Udom Emmanuel will proffer lasting solution to the problem.
“This crisis didn’t start today. It has been there and many other administrations have tried their best to resolve it,” Mr. Ekpo said.
“I want to assure that this administration is doing everything possible to bring a lasting solution to the crisis.”
He explained that the purpose of the meeting was to prepare the people for a peace initiative and to nominate persons who would represent them.
Mr. Ekpo, who is also the chairman of the state boundary committee, said inter-state boundary crises are handled by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).
He, however, blamed the perennial clashes between the two communities to a yet-to-be implemented judgment of the Supreme Court.
Speaking at the meeting, Anietie Okon, who led the Itu delegation to the Hilltop Mansion, thanked the deputy governor for convening the meeting and appreciated government’s effort at resolving the the crisis.
Senator Okon said while Itu people were not on a territorial expansion move, he said they were determined to protect their farmlands and waterways.
He wondered why the Supreme Court ceded certain areas of Cross River State to Akwa Ibom while also including some Oku-Iboku villages in Cross river state.
Senator Okon lamented that the judgment was based on wrong premises. End