By Chioma Onuegbu
Akwa Ibom Government Wednesday warned all warring communities across the state to embrace peace and avoid further destruction of lives and properties.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, gave the warning in Uyo while addressing community leaders of Mbo local government area over the boundary dispute between its two communities of Uko Akpan Enwang and Ukontighe Uda.
Ekpo who expressed displeasure over the rising spate of communal crises across the state, described the destruction of lives and properties as senseless, unwarranted and criminal.
He disclosed state government resolve to take over disputed lands as measure to put an end to communal crisis as well as avert further destructions in the state.
His words, “I called this meeting as a warning because you lose so much anytime you inflict yourself with crises.The little palliatives given by the State Government could have been used for more profitable things, and may never be enough to replace the things destroyed.
“Destroying lives and properties because of land which originally belongs to God and only held in trust by the government is wrong.
“We will rather take over the land and manage it than leave it to be the reason for killings and destructions. Industry could be sited there for the interest of both communities.
“I, therefore, urge the traditional rulers to further engage all the parties involved and stakeholders in peaceful discussions, in order to arrive at a peaceful resolution”
The deputy governor appealed to all the youths of the affected communities to remain peaceful and law-abiding as lasting solution was being brokered.
He charged security agencies to step up their efforts and ensure that the disputed parcel of land does not trigger further breakdown of law and order in the area.
Speaking earlier the Council Chairman of Mbo Local Government, Mr Asuquo Eyo, expressed concern that the communal conflict has become perennial, describing the level of destruction in the communities during the recent clashes as disheartening.
He commended the efforts of the state government and traditional rulers council for the prompt intervention and appealed for security to be beefed up in the area to avoid a reoccurrence.
Similarly, the Paramount Ruler of Mbo, HRM, Ogwong Okon Abang, pointed out that the warring communities are brethren and appealed to the state government to come to assist victims of the crisis by way of sending them palliatives and beefing up security to the area.