The Southern Ukanafun Clan Council has called on the adherents of the Qua Iboe Church, Nigeria and the United Evangelical Church to sheathe their sword in the ongoing land dispute capable of plunging Ukanafun again into another era of crisis, unrest and bloodshed.
The clan head, Chief Friday Ukoh, made the proclamation at his palace in Ikot Akpa Nkuk, headquarters of Ukanafun Local Government Area over “Ikot Esa Akpan Uko Udondok land,” a lingering feud arising from the ownership, control and management of landed property.
The Council said that the decision was made in the best interest of the area, for peaceful co-existence of individuals and organizations operating in Southern Ukanafun clan as the council would not entertain further contending issues capable of plunging Ukanafun again into any unfortunate crisis and their fateful consequences shortly after the last insurgency witnessed in the area.
It noted that it would be very unfortunate and uncalled for situation in the area only after just managing to be out from the two and a half years of insurgency, kidnapping and killing of innocent members of the clan.
According to the Council, “the council is not concerned in any form about the existence and legitimacy of either Qua Ibom Church, Nigeria or the United Evangelical Church since each has the constitutional and fundamental right to exist in the clan as a church.
“Our main concern is on the traditional right of ownership, management and control of the said landed property so as to arrest ugly lingering feud and cause peace to reign among the two religious groups since it is sufficiently adjudged that they are from the same stock and brothers and sisters of the same lineage despite their different church affiliations.”
The Council said that the subject matter was “Ikot Esa Akpan Uko Ndok” which title document and agreement has been sought for and was made available to the council including its survey plan No. 03.9/AK/06/194 drawn by surveyor Okon U. Umana M. N. I., a licensed surveyor. The plan of the subject matter carries an un-equivocal title “plan showing landed property of Qua Iboe Church, Nigeria, Annang Superintendency headquarters at Ikot Akpa Nkuk, Ukanafun Local Government Area.
“We have verified and have convincingly found out by both warring churches that this is the only title document of the landed property in question. Our further investigation shows even as seen in the agreement here attached with and the survey plan that: “the piece of parcel of land hereinafter described in the first schedule and expressed to be hereby conveyed, granted and assured for estate in fee simple is free from all encumbrances”. “The grantee has applied to the guarantors and the guarantors have agreed to grant to the guarantees all that piece or parcel of land for a consideration of a goat, yams and drinks.
“We have carefully noticed that the agreement of the land in question holds in its opening statement that “this conveyance made this 9 day of February, 1978 between Chief Isaac Job; Chief Frank Akpan Umoren, Chief Johnson Akpan Essien of Ikot Akpa Nkuk village and Elder Marcus Akpan Idiong of Ikot Inyang Abia all of Ukanafun Local Government Area ( hereafter called “the guarantors” of the one part and the pastor of Annang Superintendency of the Qua Iboe Church whose headquarters is at Ikot Akpa Nkuk in Ukanafun Local Government Area ( hereinafter called “the guarantee” of the other part.
“It is also on notice that this deed was duly signed by eminent members of the larger Southern Ukanafun Clan and officers of Qua Iboe Church, Nigeria on one hand and the lead owner of the land, Chief Isaac Job also a member of the Church on the other hand, at his time. It was finally as noticed “signed, sealed and delivered on behalf of the above-named guarantee by Revd J. T. Udiong (Pastor of Annang Superintendency) and Elder S. D Emiem (secretary of Annang Superintendency)” in the presence of three other committee members of Qua Iboe church, Nigeria as agreement attached.
“With all these facts on notice and many others that cannot be brought up here because of space and time, we in Southern Ukanafun Clan council have no difficulty whatsoever in ascertaining the rightful owner of the land in contention and to forestall the looming fracas and crises choose to proclaim as follows for peace to reign,” it said.
The Council maintained that should members of the United Evangelical Church have any need for land for use as a Church, they should rightfully apply to any land owner(s) of their choice and the council would not hesitate to assist in the bargain and subsequent acquisition if they meet the required conditions as was done to Qua Iboe Church Nigeria.
The document is copied to the commissioner of police, the director, State Security Services, the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, the paramount ruler of Ukanafun, the political leader of Ukanafun, Obong Eno Akpan, the chairman of Ukanafun Local Government Area, Prince Uko Idiong and the General Superintendent of the two Churches amongst others.