Crises looms in Oron over closure of Marina Road by MAN
*we gave them land, now we are suffering – Village Head cries out
*we will mobilize youths to demolish the bricks wall – community leader vows
BY EMMANUEL AKPAN
Crises may soon brew up in Oron Local Government Area over the contemptuous closure of the access road to Udung Okung and Ukpata Afaha Edouk communities by the Rector of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Rtd. Commodore Duja Effedua.
THE INK reporter who visited the community last Saturday, gathered that the Rector ordered the closure of the only ancestral access road linking the two communities with concrete bricks wall few weeks ago and all entreaties by the Traditional Rulers, inhabitants and political office holders felt on deaf ears as the Rector has insisted that the road must remained closed.
Speaking with our reporter, the Village Head of Udung Okung who also doubles as the Clan Head of Okpo Clan, His Highness Offong Eyo, said the road which leads to the two affected communities is a continuation of Marina Road from Oron Jetty in Oron Town through Esuk Oro Village to Udung Okung community and ended at the beach of Ukpata Afaha Edouk community.
He said the road is the only means of ingress and egress to Udung Okung and Ukpata Afaha Edouk communities, adding that the road is ancestral, but now an Akwa Ibom State Government Road, which existed and in used from time immemorial before the establishment of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron in 1979.
The Traditional Ruler noted that the said road cuts across the institution (Maritime Academy of Nigeria); just like the Ikpa Road running across the University of Uyo, stressing that the most painful part of if is that the Rector used the bricks wall to close the road on the ground that the road should not pass through the institution without providing alternative road of entering the two communities.
According to HRH Offong Eyo, “The Maritime Academy is built on Udung Okung land. The road has been in existence before the establishment of the institution. What the Rector should have done would have been for him to erect perimeter fence on both sides of the road and allow our only access road to our communities. We gave them (Maritime Academy of Nigeria) the land and now we are beginning to suffer. We want this road open as soon as possible.”
Furthermore, HRH Eyo said when the process of closing the access road started, some selected women from the two communities went into the institution to ask why the institution’s authority had make such move to close the road, instead of the Rector to explain, he alleged that the Rector ordered for the women to be looked up.
He maintained that efforts to meet with the Rector Rtd. Commodore Duja Effedua has always been abortive as the Rector has refused to listen to the cry of the host community of the Academy since he resumed office about a year ago, adding that the Traditional Rulers Council as well as all the donors of the land where the Academy is sited have several invited the Rector for a meeting, but he has refused to honour the invitations.
He appreciated the efforts of the member representing Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon Effiong Bassey for his move in taking the matter to the planery in the House of Assembly for deliberations even as he call on Government intervention in the matter to avoid crisis in coming days.
Also speaking, a community leader, Chief (Hon) Eteyen Oboho, said that the Maritime Academy have had several administrators and none has ever attempted to close the said road not until Rtd. Commodore Duja Effedua came on board.
Oboho, who is a former Councillor disclosed that though about eight years ago there was a communal clash between Idua and Eyo Abasi villages (nearby communities) which had affected Udung Okung and Ukpata Afaha Edouk communities and that led to the people relocating from thier land and had to settled at a camp.
While emphasizing the communal clash had long been over, he frowned at the behaviour of the current Maritime Academy Rector to have ordered the closure of the road without seeking for the consent of the owners of the land.
In his words, “As I’m speaking with you, we have so many houses and farm lands over there, but we can’t access them because we have been cut off from our land. We have written to several quarters of Government, but we only had response from the member representing Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon Effiong Bassey.” He however, vowed that if the road is not open, he will mobilize youths to demolish the bricks wall.
The vice chairman of Oron Local Government Area, Hon Charles Bassey in a chat with our reporter, commended the efforts of the member representing Oron/Udung Uko State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for taking the matter to the House of Assembly for deliberations as well as the resolutions passed during plenary of the House.
He noted that providing an alternative road to access the communities will not be accepted, rather the road should be opened, disclosing that it was in the MOU signed that the road would not be close even as he accussed the management of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron of breaching the earlier agreement the community and the Government had on the MOU.
Meanwhile, Akpakip Eyo-Abasi Traditional Rulers Forum, Oron Local Government Area had petitioned the presidency over unruly behaviours of the Rector, Rtd. Commodore Duja Effedua.
In a later made available to our reporter tilted “Re: the many sins of Rtd. Commodore Duja Effedua, Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State”, and dated 26th February, 2018, indicated that since the assumption of duty, the Rector has been a thorn in the flesh of Eyo-Abasi Group of Villages and Udung Okung in particular.
The later which is signed by HRH Offong Eyo – Clan Head of Okpo, Offong Antai Eyo – Village Head of Udung Ussotai, Offong Asukwo Esangebianga – Village Head of Udung Ulo, Offong Edemumoh Edemumoh – Village Head of Eyobiesio, Offong Eteyen Oboho – Village Head of Udung Essang, Offong Etim Ala – Village Head of Esin Ufot, Offong Anwana Esin – Village Head of Udung Esin, Offong Edet Mkpayo – Village Head of Eyo Ussotai, Offong Efa Akpa – Village Head of Udung Ekung and Offong Nicodemous Ekoh – Village Head of Eyo Ekung Inyang, they pleaded with the president to order the opening of the road. Efforts to reach the Rector, Rtd. Commodore Duja Effedua, as at the time of filing this report proved abortive.