By Iniabasi Umo
Elders in Itu, Uruan and Ibiono Ibom local government areas of Akwa Ibom State have blamed some leaders in Cross River State for instigating boundary attacks and clashes against some riverine communities in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking through their spokesman, Dr. Ekong Demson, the leaders in the three councils, said in a press statement in Uyo on Sunday that, the continued attacks on Akwa Ibom people had been sponsored by some leading figures in Cross River State.
The group which called for the prosecution of such erring leaders in Cross River State, added that they (the leaders in Cross River State), are being not sincere with the peace meeting between the two states initiated by the National Boundary Commission.
“At the instance of the National Boundary Commission, the government of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states represented by their deputy governors, security agencies and leaders of the affected communities in Itu and Odukpani LGAs, met on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at the former tollgate end of Itu Bridge to sensitise the people and also explore prospects for a peaceful resolution of their lingering boundary crises.
“It is surprising and unbelievable that barely two days after the parley, the people of Ikot Offiong hired mercenaries from Cross River State armed with sophisticated weapons and attacked defenseless fishermen along the river in Itu, killing one Ifiok Ekpo from Idu Uruan and seized several boats and fishing nets.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that key functionaries of Cross River State origin, both at the state and federal levels are neck deep in the sponsorship of this mayhem on the peace loving people of Akwa Ibom State, who are law abiding and engaging in lawful economic activities in their territory,” they said.
According to the group even when some suspected culprits involved in the attack against the people of Itu were arrested by the army, they were released without being prosecuted.
The three LG leaders pleaded with the federal government to intervene in the matter to halt aggrieved communities from taking laws into their hands.
They said, “We recall that on May 19, 2017, 17 armed mercenaries from Cross River State were arrested by the Nigeria Army at the same location with sophisticated weapons and two 50kg bags of ammunitions but were surprisingly released.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government through the National Boundary Commission to investigate and bring the culprits to book; otherwise, we will be left with no option but resort to self-help.”