A follow up meeting of the Joint Technical Committee of Experts on Cross River-Akwa Ibom Interstate Boundary which took place Monday 20th January, 2020 along Itu/Odukpani Highway ended in a deadlock.
The meeting was to articulate on the possible siting/location of a permanent Military Base and the need to fast track the field demarcation process of the Supreme Court Judgment on the boundary line of the interstate boundary of the two sister states.
The meeting was sequel to an earlier meeting of the committee which took place at the National Boundary Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja on Friday 6th December, 2019.
The meeting, however ended in deadlock as representatives of both States failed to arrive at a consensus agreement as to the specific site for the establishment of the permanent Military Base.
Leader of the Cross River State delegation who also doubled as the State’s Surveyor-General, Surveyor John U. Ada, reiterated the state’s commitment to embrace peace as well as support peaceful coexistence between both States.
He further added that the interstate boundary line is no longer in dispute as the National Boundary Commission has gazetted the statutory boundary line between both sister states based on the Supreme Court verdict.
On Cross River State’s position for the location of the Military Base, Surveyor Ada said that the Military Base should situate along the boundary corridor with an abortment to the Cross River waterfront.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the CRS Govt is of the opinion that Military Base should be sited among the ruins of Ikot Offiong community on the west bank of Cross River in Itu LGA of Akwa Ibom State”.
Surv Ada stated further that this position is predicated on the following reasons:
“It will create a confidence building measure to persuade the displaced people of Ikot Offiong to return to their ancenstral home to rebuild their homes and lives.
It will provide much needed security for Ikot Offiong returnees against further aggression and attacks from hostile neighbours.
The natural harbor/quay in Ikot Offiong can be used to safely anchor motorized boats attached to the Military Base.
That the Military Base in Ikot Offiong Community is close to the creeks of the Cross River Estuary where the fighting for control of aquamarine resources often take place. That is, the Military will move rapidly from Ikot Offiong to intervene and quell fighting in the creeks”. He concluded.
He therefore called on the Ministry of Defence to carefully peruse the document before it devoid of sentiment, in order to make an informed decision.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Akwa Ibom delegation who also doubles as an erstwhile Governor of the State, His Excellency Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga also pledged the support of his state to see peace, normalcy and progress restored back to the warring communities.
On the choice of location, the Leader Of Akwa Ibom State Delegation said that the base of the military should be located on the east bank of Odukpani-Itu bridgehead of Cross River. That is, the former Ministry of Works Tollgate at Odukpani-Itu bridgehead.
After much deliberations, and inability to reach a consensus on the location of the military base, the representative of the National Boundary commission , Chief Surveyor Ugbah Chinma promised to work with the Nigeria Military, which was represented by Major General Abubakar Maikobi to carefully determine and choose the most suitable location for the citing of the military base and communicate same back to both States at a later date.