Agreement has been reached between Ebonyi and Cross River States to permanently rest the hostilities that have rocked their border communities over the years.
The agreement was reached at a peace meeting involving Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and his Cross River State counterpart, Ben Ayade.
The meeting was held in Port Harcourt, River State on Tuesday.
The two leaders agreed to embark on construction of mutual bridges and roads across their borders as a way of further consolidating the emerging brotherly bond between them.
As part of a 10 point communiqué that emanated from the bilateral meeting, the Ebonyi State Government undertook to construct the 600 metre bridge across Oferekpe River from Ikwoand another 500 metre bridge across Ndibe Beach in Afikpo North Local Government Area of the State, while Cross River State agreed to compliment the gesture by constructing a 7.2km road linking the Federal Highway enroute Oferekpe in Ebonyi State from Ogada in Cross River State.
This will be in addition to either the 19km road linking Ndibe beach to Ugep or another 17km road between Adim in Cross River State and Ndibe beach in Ebonyi State.
At the meeting, which was convened and presided over by Umahi and Ayade, both Governors directed the representatives of the disputed communities in attendance to return to their various communities and sensitize them on the new development with a view to stemming the challenges in the disputed areas.
The two States also resolved that both states should within 30 days submit a position paper on their boundary claims, attaching relevant title documents, maps and resolutions at previous meetings.
They should also appoint arbitrators, with the National Boundary Commission featuring as third arbitrator, towards permanent and mutually acceptable boundary delineation.
Also contained in the communiqué was the agreement by the both states not only to carry out disarmament of their combatants, but to, thereafter, grant amnesty to those who shall willingly submit the dangerous weapons in their possessions within a period of 90 days from August 7, 2018, being the date of the communique.
The meeting was also attended by the Ebonyi Deputy State Governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, some prominent officials of Government, traditional rulers and other stakeholders from both sides.
Recall that the boundary dispute involving some communities between the two States have lingered for over 100 years and continuously defied all moves by previous Administrations to broker peace.
With the recent development initiated by Umahi and supported by Ayade, it is expected that the high level of mutual acrimony, destruction of lives and property, which hitherto characterised outbreaks of hostilities between the two sister States, would soon be a thing of the past.
Oswald Agwu, Abakaliki.