New Telegraph

Boundary Dispute: Bayelsa Govt Calls On Otuegwe II/Okarki Communities To Maintain Status Quo

The Bayelsa State Government has called on the Otuegwe II Community in Ogbia Local Government of Bayelsa State and Okarki Community in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers State, to avoid provocative actions that might lead to the breakdown of law and order, advising them to maintain the status quo ante concerning the land ownership dispute.

This is in a bid to resolve a boundary dispute between the two communities and to find a lasting solution.

Speaking on Friday during a meeting with the paramount ruler, CDC chairman, chiefs and other stakeholders of Otuegwe II Community in Government House, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, assured that the government would take steps to resolve the disagreement amicably.

Ewhrudjakpo stressed the need for the two neighbours to be at peace with each other stating that the government would do its best to prevent the escalation of the issue into a major inter-communal crisis.

He promised that the governments of Bayelsa and Rivers States would jointly look at the protracted land dispute with a view to proffering a lasting solution to it.

According to Ewhrudjakpo, the National Boundaries Commission (NBC) would be brought into the matter as a last resort for the resolution of the dispute, if the efforts of the two states fail to resolve it.

He called on the Commissioners of Police of both states, and the divisional police officers (DPOs) of Akinima in Ahoada West LGA and Kolo in Ogbia to call their people to order to forestall any possible breakdown of law and order in the area.

According to a statement by Doubara Atasi, Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, “The Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs raised the alarm over the land dispute between Otuegwe II and their Okarki neighbours in Rivers State.

“The state boundary committee handles all inter-community boundary disputes within the state, but this case involves two communities from different states – one in Bayelsa, and the other in Rivers State.

“So, we will do our best to resolve the matter, working with the boundary committee in Rivers State. I will contact my Rivers counterpart to resolve it and by God’s grace, it will be resolved peacefully.

“It is only when our efforts fail, that the national boundary commission would come in because it is the responsibility of the Commission to handle boundary disputes involving two states.”

Speaking on behalf of the Otuegwe 11 Community, the Paramount Ruler, Chief Abili Abraham, the spokesman, Nabai Osia, and the Caretaker Member of Ogbia LGA, Minera Davidson Ofua, alleged that Okarki community had been a thorn in their flesh for decades over the land in dispute.

They claimed that Otuegwe 11 Community had previously won four court cases over the land, dating as far back as 1967 before the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war, and appealed to the State Government to come to their aid.

In his contribution, the Surveyor-General of Bayelsa State, Gede Moses, remarked that the land dispute was an old one, noting that efforts were made during the previous administration in Bayelsa State to resolve it, but for the disposition of the then Governor of Rivers State towards the matter.

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