The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to demarcate the Boundary between Benue and Taraba State before mid-year in 2020.
The decision is part of measures to restore lasting peace to the State which has been enmeshed in Boundary disputes that have led to several deaths and destruction of properties for over a decade.
The Acting Director-General of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), Surv. Adamu Adaji made this known on Thursday at a meeting of the Joint Officials on Benue/Taraba inter-State Boundary in Abuja, the Nation’s capital.
Adaji stated that demarcation exercise is essential for Administrative purposes and as such should not be considered as a gulf wall between the sister states which shared common cultural and historic background.
According to him, the lingering Boundary problems between the two states dates back to 1976 when the Gongola State was created and Wukari Division which is made up of Wukari, Takum and Donga, were carved out of Benue State and merged with Sardauna and Adamawa province has helped to nurture acrimony between the states.
“Several attempts made by the Government at demarcating the Boundary were rejected and every efforts made by the Commission to lay Boundary pillars were thwarted by the communities, stressing that this time around the present administration at both Federal and State levels are committed and determined to bring the impasse to a permanent end”
He urged both sides of the Administrative divide to buy-in into the demarcation exercise maintaining that the exercise was a bridge to further cement the cordial relationship between the communities.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor of Taraba state, Mr. Haruna Manu had described the resolve by the Federal Government to demarcate the boundary as a “golden opportunity” as the exercise would ensure that both states enjoy relative peace that have eluded them for some time.
According to him, “there is no any better time than now for the sister states to demarcate the boundaries”.
“The issue of Boundary crisis between these two states have been lingering and has largely been because of lack of understanding, if we are able to restore peace through the demarcation, posterity will judge us well” he added.
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Engr. Benson Abounu lamented that the demarcation plan was coming shortly after the recent Tiv/Jukun boundary crisis.
He therefore emphasized the need for advocacy and sensitization to enlighten the people on the importance of the demarcation exercise, noting that “boundary is not a dividing wall between Benue and Taraba States, neither is it geared towards punishing anybody but that it is merely for administrative convenience”
Both Deputy Governors solicited the acceptance and cooperation of the communities and that they should see it as a conduit pipe for peaceful coexistence and a means for socio-economic advancement.
The Communique issued at the end of the meeting resolved the following;
That the NBC shall make available a comprehensive map of the 1996 fieldwork based on the 1923/24 description of the two states for study.
It also stated that the NBC and the Surveyor-General of the two states shall come to Abuja to authenticate the map and collect copies for the states between 16th – 18th December, 2019.
It further stated that the two states shall study the map and interface bilaterally on areas for considerations in the spirit of togetherness and reportto the NBC not later than the end of January 2020 and that the National Boundary Commission shall thereafter convey another Joint meeting of officials at a date to be decided.