Hon. Eteng Jones Williams, member representing Yakurr II State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly yesterday moved a motion to resolve the long lasting communal dispute between Inyima community in Yakurr Local Government and Onyeadama in Obubra Local Government Area.
In his motion of ‘urgent public interest’ raised on the floor of the House, Hon. Jones recalls that this said dispute first occurred in 1989 and also in 2013, 2016 and then 2018 – thereby referring to it as a “recurring decimal” which demands urgent decision by the State House otherwise, according to him, “we may wake up one day to realize that one community either in Yakurr or Obubra was gone completely from the list of communities in Cross River State”.
Lamenting the suffer-state of the people of Inyima at the moment, Hon. Jones said that as at last weekend when he visited Ekpeti clan in Inyima to offer some relieve materials, he was shocked to find that “there is no single house currently standing in the area”, while also informing that ” yesterday (Tuesday, May 2nd), I got a report that farmlands belonging to Inyima people were yet again destroyed by the Obubra people”.
Calling on the House to, as a matter of urgency step-in and take actions that can restore everlasting peace between the two communities, vis-à-vis Local Governments, Hon. Jones questioned the role the Executive Government has played thus far, noting that if they had taken the lives of the people of both communities seriously, the misunderstanding would not have lasted this long, opining that “government has been playing with the matter”.
“As it stands, there is no farm activity in Inyima. The farmers are scared of being attacked. No school. The place is under a state of emergency. So, the government needs to visit them, first, with food items and then set up a committee to demarcate the boundaries lest we should be hoping for a bigger disaster for our people,” Jones wailed.
On his part, Hon. Friday Gabriel, member representing Obubra in the House emphasized on the need for the State Governor to interest himself on the matter asserting that taking-over the land may not restore the needed peace as those who may feel are true owners would be forced to live in grief.
Hon. Friday further noted that the conflicting land lies at the highway and so, many atimes, innocent commuters’ lives are at risk when these two villages clash; thereby warning that if nothing was done on time, nobody can guess what lies ahead.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo who also bared his mind on the matter urged the House to take the motion seriously to forestall the Ebijakara experience of some years ago that led to the lose of an entire community and 2 to 3 polling units with the indigenes now residing in Usumutong and some in Ugep; even as he stressed that Yakurr/Obubra would be used to set a pace-line for others who may be wishing to following the Ebom/Ebijagara precedence.
After much deliberations by the parliamentarians, the House resolved to pay an on-site visit to the communities to ascertain the mayhem; set up an inquiry committee made up of traditional chiefs, youth leaders, Police DPOs, and HOLGAs of both Local Governments; Commissioner of Lands, Surveyor General and the Attorney General who shall serve as the Chairman of the Committee; Also, it resolved to summon all government apparatuses and appointees from both LGAs before the House to spell their take and stake on the issue.