The Acting Director-General, National Boundary Commission (NBC), Mr Adamu Adaji, has called on the governments of Imo and Rivers to promote peaceful coexistence among border communities to facilitate proper boundary demarcation.
Adaji made the call in his address of welcome during the Joint Meeting of Officials of NBC representatives from Imo and Rivers and other stakeholders in Abuja, on Friday.
“The meeting is intended to review the status of previous actions on the boundary and plan on the best way towards fast tracking the boundary definition process.
“It is not surprising that since the creation of Rivers and Imo states, disagreements among communities regarding the boundary, were reported in some sectors.
“The NBC first intervened on the boundary issue when a similar meeting was convened in Owerri in 2003 and another in Port Harcourt in 2011.
“But unfortunately then, the two states were not ready. I believe that the time is right now.
“I urge the two states to accord the boundary definition priority attention so as to sustain the peaceful boundary regime among the border communities in the two states.
“I pray that we discuss all the issues dispassionately with the sole aim of defining the inter-state boundary as quickly as possible.
“There is no doubt that the border communities of the two states have co-existed side by side over the years and share so much in common,” Adaji said.
Also, the Deputy Governor of Imo, Prof. Placid Njoku, said boundary demarcation would put to rest, problems arising from claims and counter-claims of boundary limits, oil wells and youth unrest among border communities.
According to Njoku, the 10th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria produced by the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation (OSGF), did not capture correctly the boundaries of Imo with Rivers.
“The map reduced the extent of the land mass of Imo, when compared with its true position on ground.
“The 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria, which ought to correct the anomaly, still has some defects and did not capture the Imo/Rivers case accurately as it really is on ground.
“Some oil wells that were verified to be in Imo are being classified as `straddled oil well’, such that the proceeds are shared 50-50 with Rivers. This is an anomaly that has persisted since 2001.
“It is our believe that early and proper field tracing and demarcation of the boundary between the two states will cure the disputes and unnecessary conflicts between the border communities,” Njoku said.
Similarly, Dep. Gov. Ipalibo Banigo of Rivers, said the people of her state were desirous of peace with their Imo neighbours.
Banigo expressed the hope that the meeting would address the boundary issues between the two states.
“I call on NBC and OSGF to be fair in addressing the issues. We shall submit our position in due course.
“I also appeal to NBC to fast track the modalities in addressing the boundary issues between the two states.
“I pledge our support and commitment to NBC in its right of addressing the conflict 0between Imo and Rivers,” Banigo said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the meeting brought together officials of NBC, OSGF and representatives from the two states. (NAN)