The Akwa Ibom Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, says the Federal Government’s transborder initiative through the National Boundary Commission (NBC) will reduce conflict in the border communities.Ekpo, made this known while fielding questions from newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday, on how to ensure peace among border communities in the country.
He said that the transborder initiative was a lofty idea from the NBC, which would assist in peace deals in the border communities.”The advantage of the new initiative is that it offers an opportunity for hitherto warring communities to focus on reconciliatory efforts.”At the same time, he said the federal agencies will be assisting them in setting up critical life-touching infrastructure at the border communities even as they await the final demarcation of the borders.
According to him, the initiative, if well implemented, will turn out to be the best strategy in reducing tension and conflicts at the nation’s borders using the instrumentality of economic empowerment for the mutual benefit of all parties.He recalled that the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) in Oku Iboku established by the federal government was functional, the warring communities from Cross River and AKwa Ibom lived without any rancour.He noted that immediately the company collapsed, hostilities resumed in the area causing hardship and disharmony in the border communities.“
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 said.
The deputy governor urged the federal government to sincerely implement the trans border co-operation initiative as a matter of urgency to curb border conflicts.He commended the federal government and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for always assisting the state government in providing relief materials to victims of border crisis. (NAN)