The National Boundary Commission Warned Against Being Complicit In Illegal Remapping of Akwa Ibom State
A very reliable source in Uyo has revealed that the National Boundary Commission officials are expected in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Monday, 22nd May, 2023, having been contracted by the outgoing Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, to ratify the illegal, skewed and clearly unconstitutional and hastily rustled up new map of Akwa Ibom State. From Monday, the 22nd May, the Governor would have only seven (7) days left in office as chief executive, but, even with all the odds stacked against him, he has sworn to contrive a new map, wherein ONNA Local Government Area, which is his local government of origin, is suddenly presented with the status of a coastal local government from its hitherto naturally hinterland position by remapping to the Atlantic Ocean.
It is a known fact that the Governor has secretly assented to the law which the State House of Assembly hurriedly passed without due process as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 [as amended]. The Governor has also ordered the Surveyor General of the State to draw a new map for the State, without following due process. It is that secret new map that the Governor wants the National Boundary Commission to adopt and accord official status on Monday, 22nd May, 2023.
Furthermore the new map is set to be launched and gazetted as part of the State laws, captioned “Laws of Akwa Ibom State (Revised Edition) 2022” on the same date.
He has spared no expense and he cares less, so long as he bequeaths to his local government area the benefit of Petroleum Industry Act by extending the hinterland boundaries to the Atlantic ocean. The Governor is believed to have mounted pressure on the officials of the National Boundary Commission to guarantee their presence in the State. Inside sources at the Commission in Abuja has decried the cavalier and daredevil manner in which the Governor is going about achieving his vaunted desire to forcefully position his local government to benefit from the resources that will accrue to oil producing communities as provided for in the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.
Against the continuous lies by the Governor that Akwa Ibom State has never had a map, the office of the Surveyor General of Nigeria recently issued a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the official map of Akwa Ibom State. The CTC, endorsed by the Surveyor General himself, with receipt No.0099, is dated 16th May, 2023, debunks the claims of the Governor and affirms that there has always been an existence of official map of Akwa Ibom State. The Surveyor General of Nigeria had to set the record straight after being joined as a defendant in a suit filed by the three local government areas negatively affected by the wanton and self seeking action of the outgoing Governor.
The action of the Governor is reprehensible and has been met with State wide condemnation! It is believed that when the Governor began this extremely maddening move to remap Akwa Ibom State only for the benefit of ONNA, Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas, that a very respected Elder State-man had warned him to desist from this very dangerous act which is capable of destroying the State, especially as this is done only a few days to the end of his administration. The Governor, in his characteristic unbending manner refused to heed good counsel and reaffirmed his willingness to take full responsibility for the consequences of his actions. The Governor has no altruistic reason to draw a map for Akwa Ibom as there is already an existing and uncontested official map. As he leaves office, the Governor is furiously and feverishly working to establish a kingdom for himself within the oil conglomerates of Akwa Ibom State. It is strongly believed that the Governor has annexed a massive portion of the land donated to Sterling Global in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area and turned it into his private property. To protect this greed against protestation from Eastern Obolo LGA (the owners of the land) in future, the Governor wants the entire land mass to now belong to ONNA LGA where the Governor comes from.
The Governor has displayed continued unceremonious hardihood towards every institution and wanton disregard for rule of law and judiciary pronouncements. Not less than two court cases have been ignored by the Governor so far in his attempt to remap the State. A High Court in Akwa Ibom State in Suit No. HU/ 134/2021 had declared the action of the Governor and the State House of Assembly as unconstitutional. In a landmark Judgment delivered in January 2022, the High Court expressly ordered the Governor to discontinue the uncontitutional remapping the State. The Judgment is subsisting and was never appealed against.
Again, in April, 2023 when the Governor secretly sponsored a Bill on the floor of the House of Assembly for a law to produce a map for Akwa Ibom State, the three local government areas negatively affected by the greedy and unreasonable action of the Governor took out an Originating Summons at the Federal High Court, Uyo, with the National Boundary Commission and the Surveyor General of the Federation joined as defendants, wherein the Plaintiffs have asked the Federal High Court to stop the illegal action of the Governor. The Governor has ignored the suit even though he has been served with all the processes and a Letter of Notification of the Pendency of a suit in Suit No. FHC/UY/CS/49/2023. The matter at the Federal High Court did not hold as scheduled for hearing on 15th May, 2023 by 1:00 PM, and it was subsequently rescheduled twice without hearing; first shifted to 18th May, 2023 and presently to Tuesday, 23rd May, 2023. As a result of this, the Governor is set to hurriedly conclude his devious remapping scheme on Monday, 22nd May, 2023 before the pending suit on the remapping gets to be heard.
The Obolo people of Akwa Ibom State, comprising of Ibeno, Eastern Obolo and Mbo Local Government Areas, wish to strongly warn the officials of the National Boundary Commission who are visiting the State, that they must refuse to be used by the outgoing Governor to perpetrate the crime legalizing an illegality, which is what Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s action amounts to. Section 8(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 [as amended], clearly sets out the lawful steps to be taken before the boundary of any local government area can be adjusted. Udom Emmanuel has not complied with any of the constitutional provisions in this regard.
The Director General of the National Boundary Commission has been duly served with all the court processes and a Letter of Notification of the Pendency of a suit at the Federal High Court. Anything done shall therefore amount to a nullity.
The action of Governor has already caused serious dissatisfaction and disaffection among several local government areas in the State. No one would like to lose their natural identity or become a member of another local government area overnight. This is what the action of the Governor amounts to. Many innocent indigenes of the State have lost their lives because of the stubborn attitude of the Governor. Oil production has also suffered seriously as some of the companies have closed their operational offices for fear of disturbances and unrest. The Governor has continued to act like the bull in a china shop, as nothing seems able to stop him from the remapping exercise, not regarding that he has only a few days left in office.