By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, intervened in the communal clashes between Wanikade and Wanihem communities of North Ukelle, in Yala Iga in Cross River State, just as it called on the Nigerian Army to, as a matter of urgency, maintain presence in the area until the security situation was contained and lasting peace restored.
The Senate also directed the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to make urgent arrangements to provide food, medicines, blankets, mattresses and other essentials to internally displaced persons, IDPs, both in Benue State and other parts of Yala LGA in Cross River State.
It also urged the Cross River State Government to quickly resolve the conflict on a sustainable basis through appropriate boundary delineation.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North), entitled “Communal clashes between Wanikade and Wanihem Communities of North Ukelle, in Yala Iga in Cross River North.”
Oko, in her motion, explained that the warring communities have been in dispute over land ownership at their boundaries in the last couple of years, adding that in 2012, a court ruling ordered both communities to stay away from the disputed territory until a resolution was reached.
She said that fresh clashes however, started after one of the communities went into the disputed land to farm resulting in the sacking of several villages with more than 1,000 houses and institutions such as schools razed down, adding that more than 100 persons are feared killed in the conflict with about 14,000 others currently displaced causing serious humanitarian crisis in the area.
The matter was referred to the Senate Committee on State and Local Government, to report back in two weeks.