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Outrage as traditional ruler allegedly attempts to sell Akwa Ibom land to Abia

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Foremost sociocultural group in Akwa Ibom State, the Ikpanya Clan Development Union has accused the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom, His Royal Majesty Edidem Ime Udousoro Inyang of plotting to sell off a parcel of land belonging to the clan, to Arochukwu in Abia State.

This was contained in a letter dated 30th March, 2022, addressed to Office of the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Commissioner of Police, Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Chairman and Ibiono Ibom Traditional Rulers Council.

The letter signed by President of the forum, Rt. Hon. Ekpenyong Ekpenyong Udoekong; Secretary, Mr Jacob Inyang Udoaba; and Publicity Secretary, Mr Okokon Okon David, alleged that the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom, in connivance with the Ikpanya Clan Head, His Royal Highness Isaac Onosin are making frantic efforts to execute the transaction after holding several meetings in Arochukwu, Abia State and signing different secret documents in the process.

Ikpanya and Arochukwu have been involved in an agelong interstate boundary related conflict which sometimes lead to deaths, maiming and destruction of properties.

Following the latest wave of crisis in 2022, peace talks ensued. Talks later derailed as Ikpanya people decried that the Paramount Ruler has not taken their interest into consideration during his solo trips to Arochukwu for negotiation.

According to the association, the Paramount Ruler only agreed to the demands of Arochukwu people and ignored presenting the concerns of Ikpanya throughout the negotiation.

It said the issue of justice for the killing and gangrape of Ikpanya people by Arochukwu people was never raised by the Paramount Ruler during his solo trips and negotiation with Arochukwu.

Upon sealing an agreement with Arochukwu, HRM Edidem Ime Udousoro Inyang reportedly fixed a date, 9th April, 2022, for delineation of boundary in favor of Arochukwu.

This move necessitated the Ikpanya Clan Development Union to write to relevant authorities to stall the exercise. On the fateful day, Arochukwu had visited the Paramount Ruler with various gifts in celebration of their anticipated purchase of Ikpanya land which comprises of seven villages.

The group described the Paramount Ruler’s agreement with Arochukwu as biased, unilateral and overreaching.

They called on the National Boundary Commission, Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State and security agencies to call the Paramount Ruler to order since delineation of boundary is beyond is powers and jurisdiction as a traditional ruler.

The group also alleged that the Paramount Ruler and the Clan Head have been trying hard to impose an Abia indigene, one Daniel Nwachukwu as village head of Aburu in Ikpanya.

Reacting to the position of the Ikpanya Clan Development Union, the Paramount Ruler, through his lawyer, Usungurua Bassey Esq, has called for an unreserved apology from the group or risk facing litigation in court.

But Counsel to the group, S. S. Ebong Esq. of C. I. Odo and Co. has described the demand as an ill-advised decision.

In a reply to the Paramount Ruler’s counsel, Usungurua Bassey Esq., dated 10th June 2022, Ebong demanded an outright withdrawal of the demand letter written to his clients and Ikpanya Clan, and tendering of public apology within 14 days of issuance of the reply, or be faced with legal redress.

Accordingly, Counsel to the group stated that the Paramount Ruler’s demand for apology is just a face-saving move which is coming rather late, as government officials including the Deputy Governor, who is constitutionally empowered to act on boundary matters, and security agencies have since waded in and ascertained the true facts of the matter.

When contacted by our reporter, HRM Okuku Ime Udousoro Inyang said: “I can’t speak on that, I’ll leave my lawyer to comment on the matter.” Read more.

See a copy of the letter below:

 

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