By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has said it was committed to maintaining peace along its boundaries with neighbouring Osun State.
The Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, said this during a Joint Meeting of Ekiti and Osun officials on the Interstate Boundary organised by the National Boundary Commission held in Osogbo.
Egbeyemi and his Osun State counterpart Mr. Benedict Alabi, assured that an amicable and lasting solution would be found to the lingering dispute among communities located on the boundaries of the two sister states.
According to a statement on Wednesday by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, the peace parley was chaired by the Director General of the National Boundary Commission, Mr. Adamu Adaji.
The two Deputy Governors who signed a seven-point communique at the end of the one-day meeting appealed to the affected boundary communities to give peace a chance and refrain from actions that could lead to breakdown of law and order among them.
The Deputy Governors were joined by the Attorneys General/Commissioners of Justice of the two States, Mr. Wale Fapohunda (Ekiti) and Mr. Femi Akande (Osun), local government chairmen and traditional rulers of the affected communities.
Egbeyemi in his keynote address expressed concern that the people living along the boundaries of the two States had been operating under very stringent conditions because they had been restrained from engaging in development projects in the disputed areas.
He said: “While the two States are making frantic efforts to resolve the border problems, I wish to implore our people from both States to embrace peace and love and avoid provocation that can escalate tension among border dwellers.
“That should remember that it is only on an atmosphere of peace and harmony that equitable/joint utilisation of border resources, facilities and amenities could be feasible and jointly enjoyed by the two States.”
The Osun Deputy Governor, Mr. Alabi, said difference in the positions of the two States does not on any way suggests enmity, but it is a reflection of sound minds and certainty of social composition.
He added: “I have no doubt in my mind that with this latest intervention and commitment, this marks the end of brewing acrimony at the border towns of the two states, and the beginning of renewed hope, prosperity and harmonious co-existence in the area.”
Some of the flashpoints of tension along the boundaries are Okemesi/Esa Oke, Efon Alaaye/Esa Oke, Efon Alaaye/Erin Ijesa, Osan/Ila Orangun and Ogotun/Ikeji Ile.
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The NBC Director General, Mr. Adaji, who was represented by the Director, Interstate Boundaries Department, Dr. Richard Orji, recalled that the agency’s last engagement on the Ekiti/Osun interstate boundary was in 2013.
Adaji noted that occasional tension arose in some sectors of the boundary because of claims and counter-claims by the affected communities of the two states assuring that the commission would leave no stone unturned in the quest for peaceful demarcation of the boundaries.
While noting thy the last meeting of the two States held in Esa Oke, Osun State on 18th June, 2020 helped to douse tension, Adaji assured that the commission was encouraged by the commitment to the two governments and would expedite action on the assignment at hand.
At the meeting, technical reports on the interstate boundaries was presented by the Acting Surveyor General of Ekiti State, Mr. Olaniyi Ibidunmoye; Surveyor General of Osun State Mr. Abiola Adejumobi and the representative of the Surveyor General of the Federation Mr. Magaji Duniya.
The highlights of the communique included a resolution that the fieldwork on the location of the tripartite point should commence from 2nd-7th of November, 2020 to be preceded by Joint Public Enlightenment from 26th-30th October, 2020.
It was also resolved, among others, that border dwellers should continue to maintain peace and the status quo maintained pending the final resolution of the dispute.