Chairman of Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has insisted on the review of the 1999 Constitution, in spite of the opposition.
While receiving traditional rulers and political leaders of Eket, Esit Eket, Onna, Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi and Nsit Ubium local government areas of Akwa Ibom State in his office on Tuesday, Ekweremadu said states would be created with all levels of government and communities adequately involved.
According to him, the committee would resume discussions on the review of the 1999 Constitution soon after issues on the budget were addressed and signed into law.
He said, “Your visit is a demonstration that our people now resolve their differences through peaceful means, through an organised procedure and through presentation of memo rather than take to arms.
“We will look at the memo. We will not shy away from addressing issues relating to the welfare of Nigerians, no issue will be swept under the carpet. We will continue with the Constitution review until we complete the assignment, we will not be intimidated to discuss all issues.’’
The leaders of Eket, Esit Eket, Onna, Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi and Nsit Ubium LGs in Akwa Ibom State were at the National Assembly to protest the inclusion of their areas in the proposed Oil Rivers State.
In their position paper before the committee, the communities and their representatives said the memorandum submitted by the agitators for the creation of Oil Rivers State out of the present Akwa Ibom and Rivers States was “misleading and mischievous.”
Making the presentation on behalf of the communities, Obong E. Abia, said, “The people of Ibeno and Eastern Obolo Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State may well be of the Ijaw ethnic group but they want to take along not only their own land but ours also..
“The land which make up most the entire coastal area of Eket, Esit Eket and Onna Local Government Areas, received judicial pronouncement of the privy council, in favour of Eket, Esit Eket and Onna, as far back as 1914-1918.
“Also, in 1993, the judicial commission of inquiry into the dispute between the Eket, Uquo(now Esit Eket), Ibeno, Mbo and Onna, found in consonance with the decision of privy council.”
He explained that also in 1947 and 1984 the West African Court of Appeal in the Down Bellow case and Akata case respectively, gave judgments in favour of the people of Onna Local Government Ara and against Eastern Obolo, over the area of Onna coastal land sought to be excised to form the proposed Oil Rivers State.
Abia decribed Nsit Ubium Local Government Area as an oil bearing community, which is contiguous to Eket and Esit local government areas, adding that the tributaries of rivers from the sea run into all the waters and streams of Nsit Ubium and are generally affected by the negative effects of oil exploration off the Atlantic Sea Coast.