Oron Youth Movement (OYOM), a civil rights organization has blamed the continued communal and boundary disputes in Oron Nation on ‘the lack of will power by the elite class to tackle the situation.
The group told National Newstrack that prominent citizens and political leaders of the nation have “failed the entire people by mere incompetence in handling communal disputes.”
Interacting with our correspondent on Sunday, the President of OYOM, Comrade Victor Mkpofor revealed that “the feud between Amamong and Okopedi in Okobo LGA started as early as 1956”, adding that “same was repeated in 1996, before the episode of 2021.”
He stated that the land dispute between Uko Akai Uko Akpan (Enwang) and Uko Akai Uko Nteghe (Uda) in Mbo LGA “has lasted for many decades, happening every five years, when both contiguous communities resume cultivation of the disputed land.”
He further said, “That of Ukuko and Umume in Urue Offong/Oruko LGA is the highest form of barbarism in the 21st Century. Oro custom is not new to both villages. When people of another community trespass the other during harvest of palmfruits, the right thing is to cease their climbing robes and the fruits.
“No one has the right to butcher another. When you kill people in that manner, you surrender yourself to the laws of the land, because you’re not supposed to take laws into your hands.
“It is the failure of Oro elites to wade into these crises that have kept these incessant boundary disputes lingering till today. It is an alien culture for an Oro man to see the blood of his brother. This is not our culture.
“We thank the Chairlady of Urue Offong Oruko, Mrs Precious Selong for setting up the the reconciliation committee which is working round the clock to resolve the matter in the area.
“We call on other parts of Oro to emulate the people of Urue Offong Oruko who have sheathed their swords and chosen to tow the path of peace”, he said.
Calling on the government of Akwa Ibom State to immediately set up a panel to investigate all matters of land disputes in Oro and indeed, every part of the state, OYOM prevailed on relevant security agencies to live up to their expectations.
“Government of Akwa Ibom state, must show capacity in its peacekeeping mannerism, as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.
“Being the most peaceful state in the country must not only reflect on the pages of newspapers. It must not only be seen on heavily paid documentaries advertised on major TV stations in the country. Akwa Ibom State must be seen in practical terms as the most peaceful state in Nigeria.
“Government of Akwa Ibom State led by His Excellency, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel must not only spend the state’s funds in securing lives and properties of people in Uyo, the state capital. Every section of the state must be seen and treated equally.
“We call on the government to immediately set up a judicial panel of enquiries to investigate the remote and immediate causes of these crises. Culprits should be made to face the full weight of the law.
“Security agencies must be at alert, and adequately empowered to effectively discharge their duties.
“No community or state can thrive in an atmosphere of rancour. We need peace in Oro. We need peace in Akwa Ibom State. We need peace in Nigeria.
“It is our desire that interventionist agencies, including National Emmergency Management Agency (NEMA), the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and indeed the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs should visit the affected areas.
“The visit should afford them the opportunity to carry-out an on-the-spot assessment of the level of destructions of lives and properties and determine what form of relief materials are best for the victims.
Meanwhile, the OYOM President thanked the traditional institution, “Obio Ifong Isong Oro, formerly known as Council of Oro Traditional Rulers (COTR), under the able leadership of HM Offong Effiong Unanonwo, Paramount Ruler elect of Urue Offong Oruko LGA, for rising to the occasion.
Mkpofor encouraged the Royal fathers to visit recalcitrant communities and persons with relevant stringent traditional sanctions.