Ijaw Reps accuse ex-governor Udom of hijacking land for oil-producing communities

Elizabeth AtimeJune 16, 20233 min

 

 

 

A group of lawmakers of Ijaw background drawn from different states of the federation have accused the immediate past Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, of hijacking lands belonging to the oil-producing Ijaw people in the state.

Led by Rep. Abiante Awaji Mnobek (PDP, Rivers), the lawmakers made the accusation while briefing journalists in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“This briefing is centred on the alleged re-mapping of local government areas in Akwa Ibom State. This action was allegedly conducted within a few days to the exit of the immediate past governor against all regulations and all requirements attempting to take the land belonging to the Ijaw Nation. Probably our thinking is that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), persons who do not have any bearing with oil exploration within the state want to seize part of the land so that it would qualify them as host communities,” he said.

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The lawmakers further expressed their displeasure over what they described as injustice and hate perpetrated on the Ijaw-speaking people by ex-governor Udom.

“We are not bothered; we are not worried. The fact that the bulk of the resources accruing to Akwa Ibom State is derivable from the oil within the local government areas of the Ijaw Nation; Eastern Obolo, Ibeno, and Mbo local government areas are the local government areas that we know are oil-producing. We have come with the aspirations, desires, pains and cries of our people to say no.

This should not be for the Ijaws in Akwa Ibom State, who are obviously in the minority in the State, but they deserve the protection of the State and Federal Government. They deserve the protection of the strong. In a democracy, the strong are obligated to protect and defend the weak. We have come crying and saying please, this should not happen to our people. It is against morality; it is against justice. It is also against the laws of our land and if anyone takes the law into his hands, then definitely, that person should be told in clear terms that whatever he or she has done or is attempting to do remains illegal. We would not want to go into the details of litigation or no litigation,” they warned.

 

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Again, they also briefed of their willingness to pursue a petition they submitted in that regard on the floor of the House on Wednesday.

“Those are issues that would be brought up at the point when the petition would be determined by the committee. What we have come here to do now is to sensitize the world that there is a threat to the livelihood of our people. As we speak, they are invading several communities that belong to the Ijaws in Akwa Ibom State. We also want to call on the security agencies to give protection to the lives and properties of the Ijaws living, residing and doing business in Akwa Ibom State.”

 

Elizabeth Atime

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