The Cross River House of Assembly (CRHA) has assured the people of Ikot Eneobong Neighborhood Community and the leadership of Basin Authority, Calabar of amicable, speedy and sustainable resolution of lingering land dispute between them.
The Chairman, House Committee on Lands, Housing and New Cities, Hon. Francis Asuquo made this known to Journalists during the committee oversight function at the disputed land which he said was informed by the save our souls (SOS) letter made available to the Assembly by the host community to help intervene in the lingering boundary dispute between Ikot Eneobong neighbourhood and their tenant, Cross River Basins Authority.
Chairman however commended the community for remaining law abiding and not resorting to self-help by taking laws into their hands, but rather choose to call on the House of Assembly to come in and peacefully resolve the Land dispute.
He assured the Ikot Eneobong Neighbourhood Community and Basin Authority that very soon justice would be done to both parties.
Hon. Francis added that the coming with his Team has avail them the opportunity to inquire and gain concrete insight into the lingering problem. He described it as a usual Nigerian problem which occurs often because of increase in population size, advancement and community expansion.
The committee noted that due to expansion and rapid development in the community, these lands were being sold to individuals who had built houses and lived on it for reasonable amount of years now; probably 2006 or even before then.
They observed that the host community seem to have obviously crashed with one of their tenants (Basin Authority) on the actual size and boundary to the parcel of land originally given to them.
In the words of the Chairman of the committee, “since we have been on ground to do the assessment, we will look at all necessary documents too but the Paramount thing is that we want to assured the people that neither Basin or Cross River State Government wants them to suffer and so the issue will be resolved whereby everybody will be happy”.
He concluded by urging the Ikot Eneobong Neighbourhood Community to maintained calm and remain law abiding the way they have been, just as he further extended the appeal to Basin Authority to also stay action and maintain status quo on any planned action, threat or demolition of any property capable of undermining the peaceful intervention processes, pending the outcome of their investigations and resolution in the matter which will be made available to parties and the general public as soon as possible.
In the same vein the representative of Basin Authority, Engr. Eric who is equally the Executive Director of Planning and Design averred that the inspection was to enable parties to have peace until when the issue is resolved. He further added that the said encroachments by the host community had affected their facility and agricultural activities within the Basins Authority environment. “With this inspection, when we resolve we will have lasting peace…” He added.
The Councillor Representing Ward 9, Calabar Municipality, Elder Hon. Solomon Ika who was also on ground to receive the House Committee expressed his delight over their coming, adding that this will give the affected persons a sense of belonging in the community and peace will certainly reign until the resolution by the State House of Assembly.
On his part, the Chairman of Ikot Eneobong Neigbourhood Community, Pastor Simon Ejue thanked the CRHA through the Committee for finding out time to response to their cry, adding that the said boundary dispute has melted severe hardship and difficulty on them. He lamented the continuous destruction and threat to their lives and properties as a direct consequence of actions and inhuman acts taken by the Basin Authority against them.
Even as he maintained that the land in question was legitimately bought by them from the Abasi Eneobong family and most of them had developed as well as stayed therein for almost two decades now.
He assured the committee of his community adherence to their admonition as he noted that they were known for their peaceful disposition and approach to the said issue.
The committee members also present at the oversight function include: Hon. Francis Asuquo Chairman House committee on Lands, Housing and New Cities Development, Rt. Hon. Charles Ekpe Vice Chairman, Rt. Hon. Regina Anyogo Deputy Chief Whip, member, Rt. Hon. Efa Esua member, Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Ayambem member and Hon. Cythia A. Nkasi.
Recall, that the Ikot Eneobong Neighbourhood Community had via a SOS letter to the relevant authorities and the general public raised alarm over the artificial gully erosion created by the Basin Authority over a land encroachment dispute and the attendant flooding which had wiped away several properties with their lives as well as their continuous existence being seriously threatened.