The people of Utuma community of Biase Local Government, Cross River State have solicited the intervention of governor Ben Ayade, over land disputes with Isu village of Abia State, which has resulted to the loss of lives and distruction of property.
Village Head of Utuma, Sampson Peter Ekpenyong, in a statement recently, explained that the disputed land was allegedly given to the people of Isu in the earlier 90s to grow crops, hunt, while they paid “tributes to Utuma community for overlordship.”
Ekpenyong noted that the generosity and mutual agreement were abused when the rival community claimed ownership, a situation that has snowballed into an unending battle for decades.
He said: “We the under signed persons representing Utuma communities hereby wish to bring to your notice the unlawful and sudden invasion and attack of unarmed Utuma community by the Isu communities in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State on 14th June, 2020, which led to the death of three persons from Utuma and destruction of properties including the newly build European Union Market Stores commissioned last year by the government of Cross River State.
“This attack by the Ibos which was characterized with sophisticated weapons took place during church services rendering about One Thousand Twenty-three (1,023) persons homeless and many sustaining guns shoot and other degrees of injuries.”
He lamented that the crisis intensified following the discovery of limestone deposit in commercial quantity in Utuma, which Abia State Government had proposed to build a cement factory against their consent.
The Cland Head, called on Governors Ayade and Okezie Ikpaezu, to “invite the National Boundary Commission to make a clear demarcation of the boundary between the two states at the Ito and Ukwa axis of Odukpani Local Government.
“They should be an establishment of Mopol base at Obubit Isong to check the unlawful attack to Utuma by the Isu people.
“Cross River State Government should provide medical and relief materials to Utuma communities to ameliorate their sufferings.”