BY: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
The over 80 years hostilities against Oyadama people by Nko Community in Cross River State might linger on without positive solution if the Cross River State government refuses to publish the White Paper of the committee it set up several years ago.
This position was made known to journalists by the Spokesman of Oyadama community Ntor, Festus Obo, in a press conference.
Recalled that over the years Oyadama and Nko communities of Cross River State have consistently foght over farmland as both communities claim ownership.
Several hundreds of people from both communities have lost their lives during hostilities.
In a renewed hostility recently, the Oyadama community said that over 65 persons were allegedly killed by the Nko Community.
Chief Obo, while breifing newsmen showed slain bodies as evidence to their claims, adding “we have suffered alot from the hands of Nko people over parcels of land that doesn’t no belong to them northeir great grand father”.
Recalled that there was a case filed in 1940 in Suit No. 6/40, (E9/1940) for and onbehalf of the Nko people against Ejukwa of Adun. Our fathers also filed a case against the ibor Okpebi. Both cases were subsequently consolidated on 6th November 1947″. The judgement clearly delineated the boundary of both communities to be the Utara Stream as shown in survey plan of 6/6/43 which was tendered and received as Exhibit “A” in the case.”
“Not satisfied with the judgement, the Nko people filed an Appeal, same was dismissed with a cost against Nko people on the 7th day of April, 1949, he stated”.
“The above mentioned judgements were respected through so many generations and farming activities went on unhindered between these communities until the present crop of leaders, led by their current Obol Efeffion Etim Ayomobi, clan head of Nko and others, he noted “.
“Today, there are constant and sustained assault meted put on our people, almost on a daily basis, such that in Oyadama, farmers can no longer go to their farms with the guarantee of returning safely home with their heads on their shoulders as the dreaded Nko militia, daily arm bush and kill our people at will.”
They blamed government for not complying to its laws which had made people to assume that they are more powerful than government itself. Government had in 2004 set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into this issue.
The commission was headed by Hon. Justice Ekeng O. Ekong (rtd) amongst others.
“Uptill today, the findings of the commission did not see the light of the day. Government willfully refused to bring out a White Paper till date.”
“It was further said, that the commission made several other findings and recommendations of which had the state demonstrated strong political will and commitment to follow through and implement it’s decisions, would have rested these issues permanently and these latest attacks might have been avoided”.
The recent renewed violence by the Nko people against us is hinged on the same baseless and arrogant claim that the Okwo Lokpoi river is the natural boundary with Oyadama people, the Spokesman added.
“He said, prior to the attack of June 24th/25, 2022, tension had mounted seriously following the killings of our people by the Nko militia at several locations, starting from the 10th of February, 2022, when a couple Mr Afuro Obo Ebughe and his wife were ambushed and the man shot dead as well as other killings.”
They made the following suggestions to the state government that “the boundary line between Oyadama in Adun and Nko be retraced and redemacarted according to the existing judgements, create a new buffer zone, establish permanent army base, or any other projects, stop continuous trespass and forcible entry on Oyadama land by Nko people and enforce the removal of cash and economy crops planted by Nko people on the said land without delay.”
Others are, “government should release and implement the White Paper of the 2009 Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the crises between Oyadama and Nko communities, there should be an Army check point at Intima junction for the good of other road users and that government should find the will to desuade Nko people from always blocking the Federal highway”.
Called on government to prevail upon Nko people to stop killing our people because we inter marry, and obey the court judgement and hands off the land.
“The way forward is for all parties to accept the outcome of the judgements of court no matter how painful, respect the boundary of the land as contained in the judgements and live in peace with one another, he added”.