Port Harcourt — Ilima Obolo, the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Eastern Obolo people in Akwa Ibom State, has kicked against alleged plots by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to adjust boundaries and redesign the map of the state so as to make neighbouring Local Government Areas beneficiaries of the 3 percent host communities fund enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act.
Ilima Obolo explained that if the state’s map is redesigned, other local government areas will become beneficiaries of the oil wells and natural resources that are presently found in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.
President and General Secretary of the group, Mr. Uye-awaji Ikpaikor and Dr. Amah Williams, while briefing newsmen in Uyo, said the remapping was a plan to further divide and share Eastern Obolo and their resources.
They recalled that the court had in 2021 ruled on the matter in favour of the Obolo communities, and wondered why the state government was still out to redesign the map and grant neigbouring local government areas like Onna, Ikot Abasi and Mkpat Enin more prominent status.
According to them, the government was still bent on taking the ancestral homes of the people of Eastern Obolo despite the court judgement in the suit number HU/341/2021 in their favour. They expressed regret that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has decided to be a “rubber stamp arm of the state government.”
The group also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, National Boundary Commission, Civil Society Groups and the world at large to come to their aid.
The group said: “It is instructive to note that the people of Eastern Obolo are fully aware that this desperate moves even in the face of a subsisting court judgment, to alter or adjust the map of Akwa-Ibom State is just for the sole purpose of ceding to Onna, Mkpat Enin and Ikot Abasi the numerous oil wells and natural resources deposit in Eastern Obolo in a bid to making these local government areas beneficiaries of the 3% host communities fund provided for in the Petroleum Industry Act.
“We make bold to say that the redesigned map adversely and significantly affected Eastern Obolo LGA as several villages have been ceded and shared to other Ibibio Local Government Areas such as Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Onna.
“That despite the clear order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has made itself a rubber stamp in the hands of expansionists and land grabbers with the sole intention of legitimising the illegitimate and nefarious desires of this expansionists within the government.
“The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, that is supposed to be concerned with making laws for the development of the whole of Akwa Ibom State, is now fanning the embers of tribalism and sectionalism via the instrumentality of legislation.
“That the disrespect to court order by those saddled with the responsibility of making law is clear invitation to self-help and anarchy by the State House of Assembly as same is not only illegal, unconstitutional, undemocratic but contemptuous and breach of a valid order of court.
“We hereby call on the leadership of the Akwa Ibom State House Assembly to desist forthwith from this unethical, unprofessional, barbaric, nefarious, divisive, offensive, malicious, contemptuous, illegal, and unconstitutional act, as such is tantamount to the gross violation of their oath of office.
“For purpose of emphasis, we urge upon the Akwa Ibom State Assembly to stop forthwith the consideration and passage of the obnoxious bill in the interest of peace, justice and rule of law.”
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