The Deputy Governors of Edo and Delta States have said that residents of communities along boundaries of the two states have no reason to shed blood over boundary disputes.
They made the remark on Wednesday at the Joint Edo/Delta Inter-State Boundary meeting held in Benin City. Edo and Delta States were created from the defunct Bendel State in 1991.
Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu, remarked that Edo and Delta States remain one, despite the boundary dispute arising from the creation of of the two States from the defunct Bendel.
While appreciating efforts of members of both states’ boundary committies, Shaibu reminded them that “despite the boundary disputes, we are still brothers as we came out from Bendel State as our history can be traced to Bendel and we should remain indivisible as we remain one.”
He noted that shortly after the creation of both states in 1991, there were claims and counter claims of ownership of lands by border communities of the two states, which resulted in communal clashes in the localities.
According to Shaibu, the Federal government waded into the crises in 2001 by directing the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to under take the provisional demarcation of the boundary between the two states.
He therefore called on the NBC to take urgent steps to carry out the final demarcation of the boundary between Edo and Delta States as it will finally lay to rest the lingering tension and agitation brewing in the border communities of the two states.
“This inter-state boundary meeting is convened today to douse the mounting tension in the border communities of our states,” he noted.
Shaibu appealed to all communities in the border areas of Edo and Delta states to embrace peace while the NBC and the government of Edo and Delta state intensify effort at ensuring the demarcation of the boundary between the two states without further delay.
Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, also agreed that Delta and Edo states are sister-states and share common characteristics, experiences and historical antecedents, for which he said that there must not be blood letting over land.
He however said boundary meetings for dispute resolution can be done with the active participation and guidance of officials of NBC and office of the Surveyor General of the Federation.
“It is pertinent to recall that from the series of communiques issued after various joint meetings held with the NBC, both states were always enjoined to maintain the status quo in areas where there are disputes as a means of achieving peace, pending the completion of the process,” Otuaro said.
He said a committee will be set up to look at how to maintain law and order pending the determination of the issues by NBC.
Edo State commissioner of police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, who was present at the meeting, appealed to the people of communities at the disputed boundary to stop the attacked on law enforcement agencies, especially the police as such act will no longer be tolerated.
“Law enforcement agents have been attacked severally while performing their constitutional role of maintaining law and order,” Kokumo said.
At the end of the meeting, a joint communique was issued and signed by the two Deputy Governors, asking Edo and Delta state governments to continue to preach peace along boundaries of the two states.
The communique called on the Edo and Delta state governments to prevailed on the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to expedite action on final demarcation and survey on the disputed boundaries between the two states.
“A committee has been set up to look into legal and boundaries issues arising from arrest and legal issues associated with boundary crisis from our borders.
“That the committee will comprise of Attorney General of both states, commissioner of police of both states, chairmen of Orhionmwon and Esan South East local government areas of Edo state and Ethiope East, Ukwani and Ika South local government areas in Delta state,” the communique said.