By Lekan Macaulay:
Cross River State on Monday received the Honourable Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd) in Calabar, the State Capital.
The visit was aimed at resolving the land dispute between Cross River State and Ebonyi State communities.
The Minister, in the company of The Director-General, National Boundary Commission, Dr Mohammed Ahmed told the Acting Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ivara Esu that he was in readiness to visit the affected community, Ukelle in the state.
He also said that he was in the state to gather first hand information and also assure residents of both communities that the Federal Government was in action to calm the situation, while charging the state government not to relent in its efforts to curb inter-state crisis.
“I am here to interact with the people and get first-hand information on the current state of things in Ukelle community.
“The Federal Government will not give up in ensuring that these crises are brought to an end. We are determined to foster peace between the people of Ukelle and the people of Izzi.
“We are exploring on how the conflict can be resolved.
“This crisis has far-reaching consequences on food security in the country. The Federal Government is more concerned about the loss of lives, destruction of properties, markets and farmlands.”
On his side, the Deputy Governor of The State expressed dissatisfaction with the situation on ground, saying that although strategies were being put in place to handle the situation, the Izzi community should state clearly what their demands are.
“We had a meeting just two weeks ago where myself, the deputy governorn Ebonyi, the chiefs, lawmakers and the National Boundary Commission were all in attendance.
“The following day after we had returned, the Ukelle people were attacked again. Minister, please when you visit Ebonyi State ask them what they want so that we can start from there.
“The National Boundary Commission should show more visible actions so that we can know clearly the areas we should enter and the one we should not.
“Some pillars have been removed; all these need to be put in place accordingly. Until this is done, people will continue to claim areas that do not belong to them,” Ivara Esu said.