A piece of land acquired by BUA Group site a refinery in Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom State may lead to a bloody communal clash between the people of Ibeno and their Eket neighbours who are also laying claims to the ownership of said land
The Eket people from the two local government areas of Eket and Esit Eket, had on the platform of Itid Afigh Ekid Union issued a quit notice to the BUA Group on the proposed refinery with BPD capacity to be sited at Ibeno, claiming the land belongs to them.
But responding on Wednesday, exactly a week after the quit notice was issued, their Ibeno brothers, while expressing shock that the state government which has been preaching peace could allow such inflammatory statements to fly unchallenged, vowed to resist any attempt by the Eket people, whom they described as their ancestral servants, disturb the establishment of the refinery on the land.
Coming on the platform of Joint Council of Mpono Nnito Ibeno and Ulok Ulok People Assembly with the press statement signed by Chief Ikoedem Ekong, Joint Council Chairman and Pastor Tom Samuel Afia, Joint Council Secretary, Ibeno said at Upenekang on Wednesday that no part of the said land belongs to Eket as such would not tolerate any trespass, and stressed that they defend BUA activities, its personnel, both local and expatriates.
“Ibeno will never take up arms against Eket, but we will not fold our arms and watch the activities of miscreants in our land. If one leaf is taken from Ibeno into Eket, we will enter and collect 12 leaves.
“We will equally not permit one BUA personnel to be hurt or killed by Eket in the course of carrying out their legitimate construction work in Ibeno. which will be a blessing to Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria as a whole.
“The people of Ekid will ignore our warning at their own peril. They have boasted that they were going to finish us off in 1993 before the government intervened, perhaps this may be the opportunity to carry out this their long awaited yearning and desire. May they dare!”.
“We know that the real problem of the Ekid people is the fear of the unknown because they have nothing to offer in this great state other than making people believe who and what they are not. But we also know that there are no developmental strides carried out anywhere in the state that will not have a constructive and positive impact on all members of the state”. The 31-point statement stated
Reacting to the Ekid people who had queried the ancestry of the Ibeno people, the statement which dwelt heavily on the history of the people insisted that Ekid migrated from Ibeno.
“The majority of the people admitted that their ancestors came from Ibeno many years ago. their story begins with a civil war in Ibeno, a war which they called Nna. During this war, many people were driven out of Ibeno and their only avenue of escape was the north. The refugees, led by a man known as Okpo Eti, fled to the North and settled in the country now occupied by the Eket Clan”. The statement added.
The Ibeno people who recalled regrettably that the drums of war recently sounded by the Eket people was same as they did before the communal crisis which claimed many lives between Ibeno and Ekid people in 1993, called on the Akwa Ibom State government to remain attentive to inciting utterances by communities in the state to maintain existing peaceful coexistence in the state.