Ibeno LGA people at risk over proposed remapping of Akwa Ibom communities – IYC

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has said that the proposed remapping exercise engineered by former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Udom Emmanuel has put the lives of Ijaw people of Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State in serious danger.

Its National President, Dr. Theophilus Alaye, in a statement issued Wednesday said in the past few weeks, the neighboring communities of Eket and Esit Eket have directed both physical and verbal threats towards Ibeno.

He alleged that the threats included  social media publications;  unlawful trespassing into Ibeno lands; demolition of Ibeno Labour task force building last week by indigenes of Esit Eket and also tampering with electricity lines that supply light to Ibeno communities.

Alaye added that this was a clear threat to the existence of the Ijaw tribe in the state.

He noted: “The attention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has been drawn to the ongoing unrest In Akwa Ibom state which has put the lives of the Ijaw people of Ibeno Local government Area of Akwa Ibom State in serious danger.

“We wish to state categorically that this avoidable crisis created by the proposed remapping exercise engineered by the then Governor of Akwa Ibom state His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel is actually producing that unfortunate result of destruction of properties and loss of lives in the Ijaw communities in the state.

“It is worthy of note that the people of Eket allocated Ibeno lands to themselves, while the land in question is before a court and there is an injunction restricting them from accessing the land.

“These provocative actions have been treated with kid gloves by the governor of the state and we see it as a move to promote ethics war between the Ijaws and its neighbors in the state.

“The Ijaw nation will and cannot fold their arms when their sons and daughters’ lives and property are under severe attack by other ethnic groups.”

Alaye alleged that the council was also aware of top politicians who are indigenes of Eket and Esit Eket using their influence to try to manipulate the reconciliation of the conflicts.

He further alleged that same politicians have been working  tirelessly in the past few weeks in a build up to a joint attack by Eket and Esit Eket today 26th February 2024.

Alaye noted: “The unnecessary roadblock along the two access roads that link to Ibeno via Eket and Esit Eket by the two communities on the 26th of February, restricting movement to and fro to Ibeno affected Ibeno Fish market, ExxonMobil Operations site in Ibeno and BUA refinery site as commuters were totally restricted.

“Furthermore; an attack was also lunched on Ibeno Labour and revenue task force workers and their tents were burnt down by youths from Eket and Esit Eket who departed the scene after carrying out the attack.

“Remapping of local government areas is not within the powers of a state government and as such the Ijaw nation will never accept any politically motivated remapping and further balkanization of our people for whatever reasons.”

The IYC, therefore, called on the federal government once again to kindly call on the governor of Akwa-Ibom state about the unrest the evil remapping would cause  in the oil producing area.

It said the economic situation and hardship being faced by Nigerians at the moment was enough, saying it won’t allow some selfish individuals who are beating the drums of war to cause more problems to an already troubled country.