Irate youths drawn from the Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State on Saturday took to the streets to protest plans by the state government to remap the state.
Recall that the Bill titled, “State Map Establishment Bill” passed by the state legislature is now awaiting Governor Udom Emmanuel’s assent.
Our correspondent reports that the Bill had sparked pockets of protests by youths from other local government areas of Mbo, and Ibeno, in the state, who have expressed resentment over the bill and vowed that it would not sail through.
In Eastern Obolo, thousands of the protesters who converged at the Okorettee junction of the town, as early as 7:30 am on Saturday, barricaded the major highways leading to the oil companies operating in the area and stopped official vehicular movement into the town.
The youths spread charms along the road and occasionally gulped dry gin and beer displaying placards of various inscriptions.
Addressing the protesters, the President, Eastern Obolo Interest Group, Mr Gabriel Gabriel vowed that no one community in Eastern Obolo would be ceded to another local government area in the name of remapping the state.
He said ” We are out today because we perceived that the state government has sent surveyors to survey our land for a new map and we are saying no to that policy because they have not come to us to create awareness on what they want to do; we just see them come up with a new policy.
“For now about 12 communities will be affected and we are saying that none of our communities will leave Eastern Obolo, because they have a reason why they are doing this. Why did the state government not carry out the remapping before now? For 35 years, they have not done anything, if you look at this area, no development. They use the money produced here to develop other places.
“They are going about telling people that mapping the state will end boundary disputes, this is a big lie, look at this place, so instead of peace it will create more trouble”
Also speaking, a former President, Eastern Obolo Forum, Mr Samuel Adaisi said that the claim by the state government that the State does not have a map until now is a lie, adding that anyone who cares to know should check out the state map in the state website and surveyor-general’s office.
“We call this remapping because when the state government started this in 2021, it was remapping, it is only now that they have changed the name to mapping.
“The state government is saying that Akwa Ibom does not have a map; this is a very big lie. If you check the website, the state map is there. All they want to do is cede our communities to others for the sake of oil and we are saying no to this.”
The youth president, Mr. Blessing Inglass, who described the attempt to remap the state as “evil” vowed that no community in Eastern Obolo would be ceded out.
He said that the state government’s move to remap the state would create more problems because the stakeholders and community leaders have not been consulted.
“We say no to this evil remapping because our community leaders, traditional rulers’ have not been consulted, so we will resist any attempt to cede any of our lands to another area.”