By Assam Abia
Ekid Nation has rejected in strong terms the purported handing over of Ekid land to Bua Refineries by the Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Area, Mr William Mkpa.
In a release at weekend signed by the National President of Ekid People’s Union, (EPU), Dr Samuel Udonsak and Secretary General Barr. Bassey Dan Abia on behalf of Ekid Nation, the people described the action of Ibeno Council Chairman as provocative, illegal and a threat to peace.
The release stated that, “the attention of the leadership of Ekid People’s Union (EPU) has been drawn to an online news report purportedly showing Mr William Mkpa, Chairman of Ibeno LGA handing over “the site” of the proposed 10.5km State government access road to the Bua Refinary in the Stubbs Creek Reserve (Akoiyak Ekid)”.
“EPU takes exception to this provocative exercise by Mr William Mkpa, and his associates and the active connivance of Bua Refinary Contractor, and we have protested vehemently to the relevant authorities”,
“Neither the Stubbs Creek nor the project belongs to Ibeno or Mr Mkpa. So Mr Mkpa and his associates cannot handover that which does not belong to it, to a third party”, the release stated.
“EPU therefore calls on relevant government authorities to address the anomaly and irregularity while we also call on everybody to disregard the exercise for it is his usual irritating and recurrent, buccaneering land grab antics and posturing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reemphasize that the ownership of the Stubbs Creek (Akoiyak) land comprising the area Bua Refinary intends to build its road, refinary and associated projects belong to Ekid people”,
“Mr Mkpa and his cohorts must come to terms with the truth that the ownership of the Stubbs Creek had long been settled since 1916 with the Privy Council judicial pronouncement and can neither be reopened nor reversed .
“We are committed to maintaining peace so as not to scare away intending investors and to encourage the government’s industrialization drive, but this must not be at the expence of our rights and heritage”,
“So, the civility displayed by our people must not be misconstrued for weakness. It is for this reason, that we warn all parties, particularly Bua and Mr Mkpa to desist from further provocation, as any such act by any party will be fiercely resisted in the future”, EPU affirmed.
The release said further that “Mr Mkpa, the Ibeno people and all concerned must be made to also commit, just like the peace loving Ekid people, to the peaceful development of our land and welcome genuine effort of the State government”
“For now, we call on all Ekid people to remain calm but very vigilant while waiting to hear from the State government”.