Wet Season: Obubra Communities cautious of farming owing to age-long land disputes

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There is a looming communal land dispute between two Obubra communities in Cross River, namely, Ofatura and Ovonum. This is against the backdrop of the wet season which is already setting in NEGROIDHAVEN has garnered.

According to a male resident in Obubra who pleaded anonymity, indigenes of both communities are wary of going to farm. He noted that owing to the communal crisis, the LGA is unable to attract economic investments from foreign business interests. Indigenous enterprises are affected as well.

The dispute between the concerned communities has sparked debates with some expressing surprise at the possibility of Ovonum and Ofatura, both of which are of the Mbembe stock disputing amongst themselves.

Recall that in 2023 the member representing Obubra at the 10th Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA) had waded into the development by presenting the matter for deliberation at the floor of the state legislature and initiating a reconciliation move.

According to Egbe Abeng, ‘I was mandated to move first motion in the 10th Assembly as matter of urgent public importance, calling on the state government to look into the incessant crisis ravaging Obubra local government especially that of Ovonum/Ofatura that erupted at the time.

‘After my inauguration on the 13th day of June, 2023. I’ve had series (sic) of Peace-Talk meetings with major stakeholders including town council chairmen, youth leaders and Chiefs across communities within my constituency on the need for a peaceful coexistence. This I’ve frequently displayed here in pictures. What else does the Mbembe Nation need to do, to enjoy lasting PEACE in the land of Obubra?

‘I’ve always said this and will say it again, that no man whatsoever has the right to take another person’s life regardless…. Social and economic development can only thrive in the atmosphere of peace, let’s give peace a chance my dear Obubra people.’

However, Abeng was criticised by a netizen for allegedly not visiting Ovonum community during his peace tour. According to Agara Monday Obo, ‘With due respect sir, have you ever visited the Ovonum and Ofatura communities on this matter? Yes, you have assets in Ofatura, but have you ever held a meeting with the Ovonum community? My honourable member, you failed me as an individual, you failed to address the Ovonum community during your peace tour. We worked for you during the general election for you to represent the good people of Obubra II state constituency, not sets of people.’

The current lawmaker representing Cross River Central at the 10th Senate of the Federal Republic, Eteng Jones Williams, had expressed displeasure over the communal clash between Ovonum and Ofatura communities in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State, urging the warring communities to sheathe their swords.

In a 2023 statement by his communication assistant, Hope Obeten, it is said that Williams frowned at the incessant ‘killings and destruction of property on both sides of the divide by brothers and sisters who have lived in harmony from time immemorial.’

‘In the face of such clashes, it is the innocent vulnerable groups such as women, children, and the aged that feel the brunt of the carnage most, underscoring the need for effective dialogue. No matter the level of anger or provocation, resorting to violence is not the solution.’ Williams noted.