By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—AFTER intensive periods of acrimony, killings of innocent lives and wanton destruction of properties worth millions of naira following unresolved boundary disputes between Ebonyi and Cross River states, both states last weekend in Port Harcourt, Rivers State decided to end the hostilities and live together as one indivisible entity.
Both sides agreeing to end the hostilities amidst some unwarranted scepticisms, remained a good omen and a sign of better things ahead for the indigenes of Ebonyi and Cross River states.
In a communiqué signed by both states, they also agreed to embark on construction of bridges and roads to mark the end of the hostilities and the beginning of a new era determined to give a new lease of life to the people of all the affected communities.
While Ebonyi State government is to construct 600 metres bridge across Oferekpe River in Ikwo axis and 500 metres bridge at Ndibe Beach in Afikpo, Cross River State undertook to compliment Ebonyi by constructing 7.2km road to link up with the federal high way coming in from Ogada in Cross River State to Oferekpe in Ebonyi State as well as 19km road linking Ndibe beach to Ugep or a 17km road linking Ndibe Beach to Adim.
This is part of a ten point communiqué on the bilateral meeting of officials of Cross River State and Ebonyi interstate boundary challenges held in Port Harcourt, River State.
The meeting which was convened and co-chaired by Governor David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi State and his Cross River state counterpart, Ben Ayade also resolved to end hostilities in their boundary areas.
It was gathered that both state Governors directed the representatives of the disputed communities in attendance to return to their various communities and sensitize them on the way forward with a view to proffering solutions to the challenges that had occasioned by the disputed lands.
They also resolved that both states should submit a position paper on their boundary claims, annexing relevant legal documents, maps and communiqués of previous meetings within 30 days while arbitrarators including National Boundary Commission, NBC, as third arbitrator would be appointed.
As part of the communiqué, both state governments would carry out disarmament of the combatants and thereafter grant amnesty to those who shall willingly handover the dangerous weapons in their possession within a period of 90 days from 7th of August 2018.
The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Kelechi Igwe.