The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Akwa Ibom State has urged the state government to take over all disputed land in the state to end communal clashes, killings and destruction of property.
Chairman of the group, Comrade Franklyn Isong, told newsmen in Uyo, yesterday, that communal clashes had led to loss of lives and property, stressing that such land could be used to attract development to the areas.
He explained that the state government’s acquisition of the land would ensure peace and economic benefits, not only to the communities, but also to the council area.
“Under the Land Use Act, land is vested in the governor. The governor holds the land in trust for the state. So, when land becomes a source of conflict and crisis, government shoul take over the land and invest in it to restore peace to the communities.”
“The Deputy Governor and Chairman of the State Boundary Commission, Moses Ekpo, should ensure that the matter is resolved. He should make a pronouncement, barricade the affected area and make it a state land.
“We had a similar issue in Uruan and now the state government is planting tomatoes there. It is a vast land and now feeding the entire state.
“So, instead of allowing land to cause problems and become a source of anarchy in the communities, we urge Governor Udom Emmanuel, who holds the land in trust for all communities to take over the land and cite an industry or other economic activities for the youths,” he said.
He noted that allowing the communal crisis in Uko Akpan Enwang and Ntighe Uda villages in Mbo Council and others to linger could scare away prospective investors.
Besides, the CLO lamented how the carefree approach to the issues in Ika and Etim Ekpo councils snowballed into lasting security issues, which took several years to resolve.
Meanwhile, the state government has condemned rising communal clashes in the state and pledged to deal with culprits.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, stated this during the executive council meeting in Uyo, saying the executive seriously frowned on the frequent communal clashes in the state and promised to deal with culprits.
Before reaching the decision, Ekpo and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem had threatened that government would stop relief materials to such communities or take over the disputed land and urged the communities to embrace peace.
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