By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
People of Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have vowed to defend the BUA refinery from external attacks, warning that no part of their land would be ceded to Eket local government area of the state.
They stated that the BUA refinery must be located in Ibeno and they will therefore defend BUA activities, its personnel, both local and expatriates.
Recall that the people of Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas had last week issued a quit notice to BUA Refinery with claims that the land allocated for the proposed refinery belongs to the Ekid people.
Ibeno people issued the warning in a rejoinder by the Joint Council of Mpono Nnito Ibeno and Ulok Ulok People Assembly, signed by Elder (Hon) Chief Ikoedem Ekong, Joint Council Chairman and Pastor Tom Samuel Afia, Joint Council Secretary in Upenekang, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday.
“Ibeno will never take up arms against Eket, but we will not fold our arms and watch the activities of miscreants in our land. If one leaf is taken from Ibeno into Eket, we will enter and collect 12 leaves.
“We will equally not permit one BUA personnel to be hurt or killed by Eket in the course of carrying out their legitimate construction work in Ibeno. which will be a blessing to Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria as a whole.
“The people of Ekid will ignore our warning at their own peril. They have boasted that they were going to finish us off in 1993 before the government intervened, perhaps this may be the opportunity to carry out this long-awaited yearning and desire. May they dare!”.
“We know that the real problem of the Ekid people is the fear of the unknown because they have nothing to offer in this great state other than making people believe who and what they are not. But we also know that there are no developmental strides carried out anywhere in the state that will not have a constructive and positive impact on all members of the state”, the 31-point statement stated.
Reacting to the Ekid people who had queried the ancestry of the Ibeno people, the statement which dwelt heavily on the history of the people insisted that Ekid migrated from Ibeno.
“The majority of the people admitted that their ancestors came from Ibeno many years ago. their story begins with a civil war in Ibeno, a war which they called Nna. During this war, many people were driven out of Ibeno and their only avenue of escape was the north. The refugees, led by a man known as Okpo Eti, fled to the North and settled in the country now occupied by the Eket Clan”, the statement added
The Ibeno people who recalled regrettably that the drums of war recently sounded by the Eket people was same as they did before the communal crisis which claimed many lives between Ibeno and Ekid people in 1993, called on the Akwa Ibom State government to remain attentive to inciting utterances by communities in the state to maintain existing peaceful coexistence in the state.