By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The inhabitants of Boki Local Government Area in Cross River State are presently living under serious tension as angry youths’ battle for the control of BorumPalm Estate.
This unfortunate crisis, which began last year, has claimed the lives of many innocent people, destroyed properties and left many others traumatised.
Reacting to the ugly incident, the chairman of Ochibe Boki, MajorGeneral Moses Obi (rtd), has appealed to all the parties involved to exercise restraint and explore peaceful as well as acceptable mechanisms in resolving their grievances.
The former army officer in a press statement titled – “Message of Peace and Love,” expressed displeasure over the senseless anxiety that this unwarranted situation has created particularly the compromise of the cherished peaceful co-existence and security of the people.
“I feel pained,” he said, adding that, “I remain committed to contributing, in whatever way I can, in helping our government and our institutions, to help us.”
He submitted that together with resolve and prayers the good people of Boki will overcome and these evil times will get behind for good.
Also, other concerned Boki sons and daughters both within and outside Nigeria have joined their voices to express sadness and condemn this pathetic upheaval that has engulfed the people.
Social agent activist and human rights lawyer, Dr. Joseph Odok, accused the Cross River State government of conspiracy and keeping silent over the ongoing brouhaha.
He recalled that Ochibe Boki has been at the vanguard of proffering solution since the crisis erupted over one year ago, but noted that the government has done nothing to complement existing peace efforts.
“Some appointees of Ayade have groomed boys that have snowballed into two groups to protect their interest in the estate. Proceeds of the palm estate have been used to buy guns and the boys have become so powerful that they now respect no chief or elder,” Dr. Odokposted on his Facebook page.
The University don decried the helplessness of Ochibe Boki under these circumstances to curb the matter.
According to him, chairman of the umbrella body in an open outcry had earlier called on Governor Benedict Ayade to rapidly intervene by deploying security personnel to help salvage lives and properties.
“I join my voice with that of Ochibe Boki to call the security apparatus in the state to step in to save lives,” he said.
The rights campaigner hinted that too many lives have been lost and properties destroyed because of the government failure to respond timely and address issues of security breaches.
“I make this call before the break down of law and order between Osokom people and Oku community,” he concluded.