Cross River: Onyadama community rejects govt revocation of disputed land, proffers own solution

Chiefs and leaders of Onyedama community in Cross River state have rejected the state government’s plan to take over a disputed piece of land which has, for generations, led to bloody communal war with its neighbour, Nko community.

In a press briefing in Calabar, Thursday, the leaders said such proposal was unfair since, according to them, all available documents and court judgments delivered so far from 1940 till date had pointed to the fact that the community owned the disputed land.

Stating its position on the revocation plan, spokesman for the Onyadama people, Festus Obo, sought to know what the fate of “many families whose ancestral lands are to be revoked by government,” would be.

Obo, who was flanked by the clan head of the community, HRH Chief Vincent Enang and others, argued that the state would be setting a very dangerous precedent if it revoked the land.

They reasoned that by “seizing land over which the court had long declared title in favour of a party because the adversary is not willing to accept the outcome of the decision of the court but have instead acquired arms to take by brute force what they could not get from court,” such action would encourage lawlessness.

The leaders called on government to “retrace and redemarcate the boundary according to the existing judgments, survey plan and some beckons”

They suggested “the creation of a buffer from the established boundary (utara) with both Onyadama and Nko contributing one hundred metres (100m) each for that purpose, or any such size or measurement agreeable between government and both communities, provided it is equal measurement on either sides.

“The establishment of permanent army base or any other projects as may be determined by government in the buffered area.”

Recall that Onyadama and Nko of Obubra and Yakurr local government areas respectively had been at each other’s throats over ownership of the said parcel of land at the boundary between the two communities, along the Calabar/Ikom highway.

The communal war took another dimension about two months ago when soldiers drafted to the area to maintain peace were reportedly attacked.

This resulted in the military unleashing mayhem on Nko which was accused of attacking the soldiers. Due to the dimension of killings and destruction of lives and property, the State government had vowed to take over the land in question.

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