The federal government has waded into the disagreement between Imo and Rivers states over boundary disputes with a view to resolving them.
The federal government team represented by the members of the National Boundary Commission (NBC) and officers from the Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation (OSGOF) flagged off the Imo/Rivers Inter-State Boundary Physical and Tracing Demarcation aimed at resolving the boundary dispute between the sister states.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting with the Imo State Government in Mmahu, the headquarters of Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, the Director-General of NBC, Sunday Adamu, assured the two states of the commission’s commitment to settling the dispute by doing a thorough and impartial job.
He also inaugurated the members of the Imo State committee on the boundary demarcation, noting that the commission had set up a Joint Task Team that comprised members of the commission and officials from the two states, to ensure a fair and just exercise.
The Deputy Governor of Imo State and the Chairman of the state’s Boundary Committee, Prof Placid Njoku, assured the NBC of the partnership and support of the State Government to ensure a smooth assignment on the boundaries.
He told the federal government that Imo people would appreciate any move that engineers peaceful coexistence between the state and its neighbours.
He said: “The people of Imo State love peace and advocate for justice, equity and fairness. Our government has sacrificed a lot to maintain peace and ensure adequate protection of the lives and properties of Imo citizens living in the border communities. Nevertheless, there have been continued border skirmishes and anxiety in Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Areas of Imo State.
“It is my utmost belief that today’s event affords the states the opportunity of taking a critically important step in the final drive to determine the common boundary of the two states.”
The Special Adviser to the state governor and Coordinator for Oil and Gas Matters, Goodluck Opiah commended the NBC for its promptness and willingness to resolve the boundary dispute.
He expressed optimism that the NBC would bring to an end the lingering boundary disagreement by meticulously carrying out the exercise.
His words, “Rivers State shares boundaries with Imo State across four local governments: Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area, Oguta Local Government Area, Owerri West Local Government and Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area. In all the areas are skirmishes of boundary disagreements between Imo and Rivers communities. These boundary disputations could degenerate into unmitigated communal crises if not well handled. This is the reason we heave a sigh of relief that the NBC has stepped in to resolve the boundary issues once and for all.”