Non implementation of TBI hindering peace in border communities- A’Ibom Dep. Gov


By Emeka Samuel, Uyo

Inability of the Federal Government to implement Trans- Border Co-operative Initiative mooted by National Boundary Commission (NBC) has continued to hinder peace building process among conflicting border communities across Nigeria, Akwa Ibom Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo has said.

Ekpo told correspondents in Uyo on Wednesday that the trans-border initiative was a lofty idea from the NBC that would have assisted in peace deals in warring areas especially in the border communities.

Trans-border Cooperation Initiative, a novel idea evolved by the National Boundary Commission, NBC, to checkmate border hostilities and promote inter-border peace and understanding was embraced by the state government to tackle conflicts arising from boundary disputes.

The Deputy Governor recalled that such an initiative succeeded at the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) established by the federal government at Oku Iboku, Itu Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom state which served the warring communities from Cross River State and Akwa Ibom without any rancour between them.

Ekpo observed that hostilities resumed along the border communities as soon as the company collapsed causing many residents to flee from the area.

“When Oku Iboku paper mill was there, we never had any conflict between neighbouring communities there. But as soon as the Paper Mill collapsed, communities around there were at war with each other.

“If the Paper Mill was still functioning, we wouldn’t have the communal conflicts there because many youths would have engaged themselves in meaningful jobs to help them instead of fighting”, he explained.

He therefore urged the federal government to sincerely implement the trans-border cooperation initiative to curb hostilities in border areas.

The Deputy Governor appreciated federaldonor agencies such as National Emergency Relief Management Agency (NEMA) for assisting the state government in providing relief materials to victims of the border crisis and other communities in the state.