The Evangelist News edition, Tuesday, January 3, 2023. By Assam Abia.
Ekid people has reiterated once again the illegality of BUA’s operation in the Stubbs Creek Forest, property of Ekid Nation.
Addressing the people recently, during the Annual Congress, the national president of Ekid People’s Union, EPU, Dr Samuel Udonsak persuaded the State Government to abide by the terms and conditions of the 1930 Stubbs Creek Reserve Ordinance that established the Reserve, known as Akoiyak, noting that it was not an acquisition.
“Therefore, if for any reason, the Forest Reserve or any part there of, is de-reserved, the reversionary interest is that of the Ekid people, its original owners by the 1918 Privy Court judgement”,
“There is no place in the constitution and our laws that allows a government to acquire land and convert it into private use. It should always be for public good. It is on this basis that we hold that BUA is occupying our land illegally just as the mining of Ilmenite on our land without our consent is also illegal”, Dr Udonsak stressed.
He reported to congress that throughout last year, Ibeno Local Government, through their agents and actors have continued to intimidate, kidnap, disposes Ekid people of their farms tools and fishing gears and even impose illegal taxes on the people living in Esit Urua and those doing their legitimate business in the Stubbs Creek.
“They have made life unbearable for our people. Congress must mandate the Union to take all legitimate means to free our people who have every right to live their life in peace and prosperity”, he demanded.
On the proposed Ibom Seaport, Dr Udonsak said the project has the potential to revolutionize the economy and life in Akwa Ibom State. He commended Government’s efforts in the pursuit of the Seaport project.
“We would like to report to Congress that if Okposo/Ine Akpautong is the preferred site for the Seaport by the private investors, then these are territories of the Southern Ibibios of Ekid; history, the 1918 judgements and the Akwa Ibom State Map confirm and lay credence to this”, he said, warning that no attempt therefore should be made, in any manner, to regard the area as the territory of Ibeno or Obollo, adding that it has never been their territory and it will never be.
On the Enactment of the Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Law, with the Oku Ibom Ibibio, as the President General of the Supreme Council of Akwa Ibom Traditional Rulers, the Ekid people held that the law is fair and foresighted, revolutionary and well-intentioned. The Union congratulated the Governor, His Excellency Umo Eno for assenting to the law.
The Union commended the Governor on his conscious attempt to make government projects and appointments even.
“We urge his Excellency not to weaver, to remain focused, to be committed to the Arise Agenda, for the Ekid people are solidly behind him. The Union would continue to engage positively with all ranks of Government to the good and betterment of Ekid Nation and Akwa Ibom State at large”, he said.
It would be recalled that on the heels of the Enactment of the Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Law, Ekid people as a subset of the Ibibios visited the Supreme Monarch, to pledge loyalty and rekindle the warm fellowship of Ibibio kits and kins.
The Congress had in attendance personalities from across Ibibio land, dignitaries from Ekid extraction, royal fathers, Youth groups, women groups, Government functionaries and representative of Ekid sons and daughters in the diaspora.
The keynote paper titled “Repositioning Ekid Nation in Contemporary Nigeria”
was delivered by Professor Herbert Batta, Head of Department of Information And Media Studies, University of Uyo. An indigene of Ekid Nation.