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Angry youths shut down oil company over remapping of Akwa Ibom

Youths under the aegis of Forum of Youth Presidents, Mbo Local Government Area and Obolo Youth Coalition have shut down the Universal Energy Resources located at Unyenge Mbo barring workers of the company from accessing the facility.

The president of the forum, Edward Moses while addressing the protesters in front of the organisation’s premises said it was illegal for Governor Udom Emmanuel to restructure the state in the name of remapping alleging that it was the governor’s ploy to give ONNA, his Local Government Area access to the Atlantic Ocean.

The president claimed that for the governor to execute his plan, he, through the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly also ceded coastal parts of Eastern Obolo, Ibeno and Mbo Local Government Areas to Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin, Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas which are landlocked.

Meanwhile, the governor had explained that Akwa Ibom state has never had any clear, official map hence the need to have the state map Establishment Law 2023 to address the issues of boundary disputes, and persistent communal clashes, to bring about development.

But the youth leader queried the governor’s explanation asking, “How on earth would the Chief Executive and Chief Security Officer of a State claim the state he has governed for eight years does not have a map?”

He said Akwa Ibom State was created in 1987 with well-defined boundaries and has been governed by at least six military Administrators and four civilian governors.

According to him, “Until the twilight of the Udom Emmanuel administration, no past Governor of Akwa Ibom State has been wilfully confused about the boundaries of this state. Every indigene of this state knows his Local Government Area of origin. It is only the Governor who doesn’t know those boundaries. This self-serving law meant to further his expansionist agenda cannot stand. It is impunity taken too far.”

Also speaking, the President of Unyenge Youth Association, Austin Nkwobia said it was wishful thinking for the Governor to dream of using illegal legislation to annex part of his community, vowing to resist such an attempt with every means possible.

“Everyone in Akwa Ibom State knows our community, Unyenge in Mbo Local Government Area shares a coastal boundary with Ibeno Local Government Area. In fact, this coastline as shown in the official map sourced from the office of the Surveyor General of the Federation and severally published in official documents of Akwa Ibom State since 1987, starts from Eastern Obolo and links Ibeno, Mbo, Udung Uko and Oron Local Government Areas in that order. Suddenly, the Governor decided to shift ancient landmarks and distort our well-known geography by shifting our age-long neighbour, Ibeno away and replacing it with Esit Eket and Eket Local Government Areas in his federal constituency. If he likes, let him bring all the soldiers in Nigeria here, this illegality won’t succeed” He insisted.

In his remarks, the Vice President, Obolo Youth Coalition, Joseph Antai said by the singular action of attempting to forcefully annex other people’s ancestral lands, Governor Udom Emmanuel has exhibited every tendency of imperialism. He described the Governor’s action as provocative and capable of destroying the state.

Meanwhile, the umbrella organization for Oro youth, Essu Nlap Oro has warned the state government against enforcing the remapping law which they alleged was passed and signed without due process.

The President of the Association, Dr Kiso Oboho issued the warning while addressing a press conference, Wednesday in Oron. He urged the incoming Governor, Pastor Umo Eno to dissociate his administration from all anti-people and oppressive policies of the Udom Emmanuel administration, including the remapping law.