The Paramount Ruler of Eket Local Government Area, Edidem Etim Abia, has prayed the State House of Assembly for passing the Map Establishment Law 2033.
He said that it would engender unity and peaceful co-existence.
Speaking with newsmen in his palace in Eket on Wednesday, April 19th, the monarch noted that the state’s map was important as it would bring an end to years of disputes over boundaries between neighbouring communities.
“We couldn’t have continued as a state without having a map, an official gazetted map.
“What was circulated in the past was not an official map, it was something someone drew and people used it and that map created a lot of problems,” he said.
He commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for his courage and determination in ensuring that the state had an official map, which he described as a vital tool for ensuring peace and stability.
“This map is expected to show clearly where the boundary of each Local Government is and bring to an end all the fights.
“The governor has done well, he has the courage to do the right thing and not mind anybody, we couldn’t have had a state that didn’t have a map,” he said.
He also drew attention to the fact that the map would prevent Local Government Areas from making claims on territories that were not rightfully theirs.
“We in Eket have been fighting since 1914 to get the proper boundary demarcated between us and Ibeno. This case went up to the privy council, the highest court in the British Empire and right from Nigeria, Eket won the case both in the High Court, Court of Appeal to the British Council. Ibeno never accepted that Judgment
“It is not up to Ibeno to implement the judgement but when there is a judgement that involves land it is the Government that should implement the judgement but successive Governments haven’t implemented the judgement.
“We also joined in the case to argue where QIT (Qua Iboe Terminal) is and they lost, the appeal was thrown out but still they won’t give up.
“This map is very important, not just for Eket alone because it affected Onna, Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo and Ikot Abasi.
“But this map is expected to show clearly where the boundary of each local Government is and bring to an end all the fights,” he said.
He further noted that in the past, there had been conflicts over territories that were not properly delineated, leading to tension and sometimes violence between communities but with the map.