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Communal Clash: Gov Eno reads riot act, moves to take over Stubbs Creek forest reserve

Following the communal Clash between the people of Eket, Esit Eket and Ibeno local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, the

Governor Umo Eno has read the Riot Act to all warring communities in Akwa Ibom State and urged them to tow the path of peace, following the communal clash between the people of Eket, Esit Eket and Ibeno local government areas.

He also reminded them that Stubb Creek, which was the bone of contention, never belonged to any of them but rather to the state government which has mapped it as a forest reserve.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, on Saturday, said the Governor made the remarks when he visited the centre of the communal clash for an assessment of the extent of damage that occurred in the area.

Eno, while warning the sponsors of the crisis to desist forthwith, said he had credible intelligence of those behind the attack even as he gave the local government chairmen of the three local governments a matching order to ensure that such a crisis does not repeat itself or risk being removed.

His words, “I have credible intelligence on those who are sponsoring our young people to go out and cause this mayhem.

“After this warning today, if this happens again, I can assure you that the government will call you out, pick you up and you will face the penalty squarely.

“The two communities are united in so many ways. There is a high level of intermarriages between yourselves, and I do not see any reason for these repeated clashes. By the grace of God, we are determined to put an end to this problem.

“I want to say this to the chairmen of the three local government councils: You have the responsibility to
maintain law and order in your respective domains. If any of this should happen again in your domains, you know you are transition chairmen; I will remove you immediately and I promise you, I will!

“Stubbs Creek, I want to state emphatically, belongs to neither Eket, Esit Eket or Ibeno. It is a forest reserve which belongs to the government.

“Since 1930, I have seen all the gazettes, even that of 1966 till date. So those who have gone in there have essentially been encroaching on the government’s land and this must stop today.

“I have directed the Ministry of Lands to come up with the entire plan and we will soon issue a proclamation on it.

“Government needs Stubbs Creek Forest Reserve as a source of carbon credits, which ultimately will provide jobs for the youths of these areas.”

The Governor also said he evacuated 16 injured persons in the crisis to the hospital, adding that he drafted security personnel to cordon off the area and warned those who may want to reignite the crisis to beware.

”Security agencies will continue to ensure there is law and order. They have the directive to confront any group that may want to start this problem again.

“They are going to be stationed here and they will not be lenient with anyone who breaks the law. The law will certainly take its course. We must have communities that are governed by law; so please be warned.”

On the issue of the new Map for the state, Governor Eno pleaded for understanding as the case is still in court.

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