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Cross River urges border communities to embrace peaceful co-existence

19 January 2013, 14:43

Calabar - The Cross River Government on Saturday told border communities in the state to live in peace with their neighbours to end communal crises in the state.

The Security Adviser to Gov. Liyel Imoke, Mr Rekpene Bassey, gave the charge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.

Bassey was reacting to renewed communal clashes over farmland between the Ndeagu-Amagu Community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi and Adadama in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River.

Bassey said that it was important that border communities were encouraged to live together in peace and to resolve their differences through dialogue rather than resorting to violence, killing and maiming of one another.

He advised the warring communities to sheath their swords, be patient and to await appropriate government intervention for an amicable resolution of whatever misunderstanding they had.

"The truth is that the recourse to violence, yes I mean the use of force, will not help, it will only bring us more sorrow, sadness and possibly further escalate the situation. The best approach to resolve violent situation is to come together and reason and find out the remote causes and possibly articulate the way forward, instead of getting involved in hostility,’’ he urged.

The security aide said that the State Government was doing its best to forestall re-occurence of the crisis.

He said that the State Government had deployed security agencies to the affected areas to prevent escalation of the crisis.

"Investigations are going on, the persons assigned and charged with responsibilities of carrying out investigation will come up with a report which I believe will not only be professional but unbiased. This I believe will help in forestalling the possibility of such occurrences in future. And to that extent it will make sense if we wait until we see this report or the outcome of the investigation,’’ he said.

According to him, most of the issues are actually begging for resolutions by the National Boundary Commission.

Bassey said that several meetings were held to resolve the disputes in the affected communities.

"Am also aware as I am talking to you that the Acting Governor of Cross River and the Government of Ebonyi State have met with a view to resolving the matter amicably,’’ he said.

He said that top government officials from Cross River would visit the area to address and also assess the extent of damage with a view to providing succour to victims.

Mr John-Gaul Lebo, a member of Adadama Community, also told NAN that the land dispute between the two communities had lingered for decades.

He said the State Government had deployed ``Operation Messa'', a joint security task force, to keep the peace.

"One person died while three of our people were hospitalised with gunshot wounds in the recent crises. The autopsy report showed bullet wounds from AK 47 assault rifle. Our people are peace-loving and we expect our neighbours to live in peace with us and avoid incessant disputes over the land that rightfully belong to our community in Cross River,'' he said.

- NAN

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