By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

THE Ekid People’s Union, EPU, an apex socio-cultural organisation of Ekid people comprising Eket and Esit Eket Local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, Ekid has faulted claim that they are not littoral communities in the state.

The union stressed that the Ekid people still remains the rightful owner of Akoiyak, otherwise known as Stubb Creek forest despite the creation of Ibeno local government area from Eket local government.

Addressing newsmen in Eket local government area, the President General of EPU, Dr. Samuel Udonsak, described recent claims and postulation by the Ibeno people particularly the Local government Chairman Mr. William Mkpah over the land as a misrepresentation, spurious and laughable pedestrian.

Udonsak, who noted that whereas Ekid people are in total agreement with Mkpah’s admonition not to shift ancient boundaries, however, insisted that Ekid people are Aboriginal owners of the land and not Mkpanak and Upenekang communities of Ibeno LGA.

His words: The entire stretch of land known and called “Akoiyak” or otherwise called STUBBS Creek forest, is an ancestral land of the Ekid people of Eket and Esit Eket local government areas of Akwa Ibom State.

“Mr William Mkpah’s postulation that the creation of Ibeno LGA from Eket , confers title on Ibeno and deprives Ekid people of their proprietary rights or interest in Akoiyak (Stubbs creak Forest) is laughable and absolutely

“Neither the creation of a Local government area not a new State can usurp the right of ownership of land or other vested interests, proprietary rights, Powers and privileges of the original owner.

“The Stubs Creek Forest is not in dispute, and indeed cannot be, as the ownership is absolutely vested in the Ekid people in perpetuity, by inheritance/devolution from our progenitors/forebears/ ancestors, evident in historical facts and extant judgements of several courts of competent jurisdiction, at various times”

The Union pointed out that in 1993, the Nigerian president constituted a Judicial Commissíon of Enquiry into the land issue and report confirmed Ekid people’s ownershiph of Stubb Creek forest.

“It is noteworthy that even Exxonmobil knows , without any shadow of doubt that they are tenants of Ekid people and not Ibeno as wrongfully claimed by Mr. William Mkpah and the people of Ibeno”, he stressed.

Stakeholders from Eket and Esit Eket local government areas including the Local government chairmen were in attendance at the media briefing held at the EPU civic center Eket.

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