The protracted boundary crisis between Abia and neighbouring Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria has become a pyrrhic one, resulting in loss of lives and property as well as occasional displacement of many from their ancestral homes.
Ini Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom shares a boundary with Ikwuano, Bende and Arochukwu in Abia State. At the same time, people from neighbouring local government areas in the two states intermarry despite their linguistic and cultural differences.
Narrating this to Straightnews reporter in Uyo, Akwa Ibom capital on Sunday, Mr. Israel Idaisin, Ini Local Government Chairman bemoaned that boundary dispute always erupts between the people of Nkari and Mbiafung in Ini and Ikwuano in Abia.
Idaisin noted “It is unfortunate that there is no traditional tree or stone for boundary demarcation between Ikwuano and Nkari. At times, Ikwuano people would trespass the Nkari land and the crisis will start. It is a difficult thing to handle because most of them are in-laws.”
“In one month, my local government area missed six persons. Until now, we cannot trace their whereabouts,” he revealed.
He attributed the helpless crisis to the fact that Nkari has one major exit route which enemies could hide and visit nefarious activities on the innocent people.
“As a council, we have been providing welfare for the police and other security agents guarding and providing security to the area to prevent further breakdown of law and order,” Idaisin pointed out.
The Ini council’s helmsman, therefore, called on National Boundary Commission and State Boundary Committee to wade in by demarcating the contentious boundary between both states to prevent further loss of lives and property.
On September 3, this year, Opera News reported that one Kingsley Akpan, a student of Mass Communication Department, Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, was allegedly murdered.
According to it, Akpan who was the President, National Association of Ini students, AkwaPoly and eight others were reportedly killed along Nkari Road sharing boundary with Usaka in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State.
“Usaka has been in land dispute with Nkari for a while now and has prompted them to lay ambush along the narrow Nkari Road thereby brutalising, kidnapping and killing innocent Akwa Ibomites who run their daily businesses,” Opera News published.
In a telephone interview with Straightnews reporter on Sunday, CSP Nnudam Fred, the state Police-Public Relations Officer, said he could not confirm the story, but he has to liaise with Divisional Police Officer of Ini.