AKWA IBOM MAP: CHRAN GIVES NOD

The Center For Human Rights & Accountability Network (CHRAN), has given its nod for Akwa Ibom State to have its own gazetted Map.

Presenting the position of CHRAN on Tuesday, 11th April, 2023, at a Stakeholders Meeting in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on “A Bill for a Law to Provide for a Map for Akwa Ibom State and For Other Matters Connected Therewith,” the Director of CHRAN, Otuekong Franklyn Isong accompanied by the Legal Secretary of CHRAN, Comrade (Barr.) Ubong Offiong, commended the sponsors of the Bill, describing it as a welcome development for the State.

CHRAN noted that “Akwa Ibom State was created on the 23rd day of September, 1987. The state boundaries were as delineated by the administration of President Ibrahim Babangida. Since the creation of the state, almost 40 years ago, Akwa Ibom State is yet to have its own gazetted map, which shows, in no unmistakable terms, the boundaries of the state. This has resulted in avoidable fracas between the inhabitants of the different boundary communities within the state, as well as between the inhabitants of Akwa Ibom State and the neighbouring states.

The human rights organisation said that; “It is therefore in the light of the necessity to avoid these unnecessary and life-threatening skirmishes that the decision of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to empower the State Surveyor-General to prepare and get gazetted the official map of the state is a welcome development.

CHRAN asserted that the Bill has not breached any provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). “We have examined the six (6) sections of the Bill with the Short Title: Akwa Ibom State Map Establishment Law, and the Center for Human Rights & Accountability Network (CHRAN) is in complete support that the Bill be passed into Law as same shows no conflicts with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The group called on the State Surveyor-General, who the Bill seeks to empower for the tasks, to carry out the responsibility professionally taking into consideration the natural boundaries and cultural proclivities of the different communities within the state.

“However, there is need to ensure that the Surveyor-General is financially empowered to ensure that the tasks needed for the preparation and production of the said official map are carried out professionally while taking into consideration the natural boundaries and cultural proclivities of the different communities within the state.

The CHRAN position was signed by the Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong and its Legal Secretary, Comrade (Barr.) Ubong Offiong.

The Stakeholders Meeting had a lot of personalities as participants, including the Oku Ibom Ibibio, His Eminence Ntenyin (Dr.) Solomon D. Etuk, CFR; the Paramount Rulers of Onna, Ikot Abasi, Eket, Mbo Local Government Areas, amongst other traditional rulers in attendance, it also had the State Commissioner for Lacal Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Frank Archibong and his Lands and Housing counterpart and the Surveyor-General as participants.

The Stakeholders Meeting was declared open by the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. (Princess) Felicia Bassey. Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan chaired the joint Committee on Lands and Housing, Boundaries and Conflicts Resolution and Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs that organized the event.

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