The National Boundary Commission (NBC) on Wednesday called for tolerance and peaceful co-existence among Abia and Akwa Ibom border communities.
NBC Director-General, Adamu Adaji, in a statement signed by the Head of Information Unit, Mrs Efe Ovuakporie, said the Commission and the two states convened a confidence building conference.
He said the conference was a renewed effort to establish a lasting peace and reduce the fears of hostilities among the residents.
According to him, the conference is part of the strategies adopted by the NBC to promote strong ties amongst the communities and dwellers that would give rise to peaceful coexistence between the states.
Adaji emphasised the need for collaboration between the sister states in the areas of embracing practices and norms that would lead to enduring peace amongst the warring communities.
He noted that the inter-state boundary disputes between Abia and Akwa Ibom dated back to several years.
“This prompted the Federal Government to promulgate Decree 23 of 1985 in order to adjust the boundary on the recommendations of the Kaloma Ali Boundary Ascertainment Commission.
“In spite of the efforts by the Federal Government, the differences in claims and counter claims in the boundary alignment and the general perception of the interstate boundary have tended to create antagonism between the people who have blood relationship.
“The challenges of these conflicts is posing a major concern to the Federal Government, the National Assembly and all well meaning Nigerians,” Adaji said.
The director-general opined that dealing with these challenges would require the collective resolve and commitment of all the parties involved.
He further said that the lingering impasse had unfortunately exacerbated over the years, resulting in wonton destruction of lives and property due to the delay in the resolution of the boundary.
Adaji reiterated that the Federal Government was committed and determined to end the impasse permanently.
He added that it was hoped that with this conference which is primarily aimed at propping up sincere, pragmatic result oriented ideas, cooperation would be built amongst the boundary settlers.
“As a government agency statutorily charged with the responsibility of resolving boundary disputes, we strongly believe in the indivisibility of kiths and kins.
“The Commission’s efforts over the years had been to re-establish the boundary in accordance with available documents,” he said.
He appealed for calm and support of the affected communities to allow peace to reign for the resumption of scheduled activities.
According to the statement, participants at the event include: the Deputy Governor of Abia, Mr Ude Chukwu and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Mr Moses Ekpo, who are the chairmen of the boundary committee of their respective states.
Others are: Commissioners, aides to the governors and deputy governors of the two states, local government chairmen, ward councillors, religious leaders, traditional rulers, community leaders, youths, amongst others. (NAN)