By: Emmanuel Ulayi.
Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, Tuesday inaugurated a Peace, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation Committee to resolve age-long land disputes between Ebom/Ebiaghara and Ediba/Usumutong communities in Abi local government area of the state.
The five-man committee is headed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Senate Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba.
Speaking Tuesday while inaugurating the Committee at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Calabar, governor Ben Ayade frowned at the destruction and loss of lives in the four communities arising from the land dispute.
He therefore, charged the committee to come up with recommendations that would “seek ways and means to bring lasting peace to the people of Ebom , Ebijaghara, Ediba and Usumutong people, to put a lasting peace and bring hope to our people”
The governor said he personally selected members of the committee based on their track record and expressed confidence in their ability to deliver.
Turning to Senator Ndoma Egba, Ayade said: “Your choice as Chairman is based on your antecedents as a SAN, you have reached the pinnacle of your profession, the profession of dispensing justice and fairness.
“As a SAN you know you have a deep experience of Cross River State. Your history is as old as the new renaissance of Cross River. You know all the key players by name, your image and towering influence should be able to calm the nerves and sit everyone down on a negotiating table and agree.
“God has touched my soul to ask and seek your intervention in this protracted crisis between our brothers , four communities of the same local government perpetually at war with each other. God has whispered to me that you will bring a lasting solution to this crisis.
“It is a call from Almighty God because the amount of bloodshed has reached an unacceptable limit, the level of wanton destruction has become cataclysmic.
“You have a duty to ensure that your committee performs her duty with dispatch. We are saddling you with a responsibility that is the biggest ever because you have a role to get all the four communities to sit together.”
The Cross River state governor urged the Committee to explore the possibility of demarcating boundaries of the four communities and pledged to implement it’s recommendations to the latter.
He disclosed that rehabilitation of the warring communities would be conditioned by the Committe’s final report.
“Your white paper will determine the amount of houses to be built in these communities, water supply , rural electrification, solar installations, all of this will form a product of your report”, Ayade quipped.
Responding, Senator Ndoma Egba assured the governor his committee would bring peace to the four communities saying, “we will put our lives, our bodies, our blood and our souls into this assignment.
“Your Excellency as you know I have carried out assignments locally, nationally and internationally, but I want to say on behalf of the members of my committee that this is the assignment of our lives, this is our most important assignment. So I want to assure you sir that we will put our all in this assignment. It is not in anyway a political assignment because peace has nothing to do with politics”, the former Senate Majority Leader further said.