Ndifreke Jacob, Uyo.
The days of prolonged communal crises and loss of property by the people of Ikpanya clan in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area is about to end as the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly moves to restore peace to the area.
The house moved to bring lasting peace to the people following a motion raised at the floor of the house by Hon. Moses Essien, Member Representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency on Monday, August 1.
Presenting the motion titled, ‘’Motion for Resolution to Protect and Defend the People of Ikpanya Clan in Ibiono Ibom LGA’’, Hon. Essien urged the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to intervene and bring the matter to the attention of the government.
Hon. Essien in the motion explained that Ikpanya Clan, an Island comprising seven (7) villages, gazetted and bounded by Ito in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State by the water called Nna Mbakara River (Eniong Creek), Arochukwu in Abia State as well as blessed with abundant natural resources, including crude oil, had long become an isolated location.
The lawmaker noted that the Ikpanya people as a result of the unresolved crises have become vulnerable to hostilities and territorial disputes with neighboring communities in Abia and Cross River States, leading to trespassing and threats of annexation by these communities as well as loss of lives, and property.
Highlighting the constitutional mandate of government to ensure the security and welfare its citizens, Hon. Essien called for immediate action to prevent the imminent extinction and innumerable death of sons and daughters of Ikpanya.
He said, “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) provides that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government’ and further guarantees right to life as immutable right for all.
“The passionate plea of the devastated, helpless and hopeless people of Ikpanya clan, requiring this Honourable House to intervene and bring their plight to the attention of the government in order to rescue them from the imminent extinction.
“The intervention of the 8th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly shall bring the long-expected help, hope to ameliorate the long suffering of the people of Ikpanya”.
Meanwhile, the motion, which received widespread support from other lawmakers, prayed three critical resolutions which includes a request a to Governor Umo Bassey Eno to direct the resettlement of families and displaced indigenes of Ikpanya Clan, by providing a safe and secure environment as well as alleviate the suffering caused by the ongoing crisis to Ikpanya people.
Hon. Essien also prayed the House Committee on Boundary to engage the State Boundary Committee and the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State to devise viable solutions to end the persistent clashes between Ikpanya and the neighboring communities.
He however, sought the establishment of a functional security post manned by a Special Joint Task Force comprising personnel from the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
In response, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Udeme Otong, noted the urgency of the matter and promptly referred the motion to the House Committee on Boundary and Conflict Resolution.
The Speaker tasked the Committee to report back within two weeks with concrete action plans to help address the matter.