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When Deputy Governor Onyeme led Delta team to National Boundary Commission

By Fidelis Egugbo

“So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life.”  This biblical passage from the book of Genesis clearly shows that from the beginning, having identified boundaries at all times is very necessary. 

Even between parents and siblings, boundaries are defined; if your land is 100 feet by 100 feet, you should endeavour to stick to it or expand it with the consent of your neighbours who can give it to you either as a gift or for a price.

God has also made it possible for people to always know their boundaries but those with sinister motives will move beyond theirs without going through legal or civilized processes.  Such a scenario could easily, lead to avoidable legal processes or wars that could lead to loss of lives and other resources.

So, it was a thing of joy to see the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Sir Monday Onyeme, FCA, leading a team from Delta State to the National Boundary Commission (NBC), for proper demarcation of the boundary between the state and its neighbours of Ondo and Edo States.

The visit by the Deputy Governor and his team to Abuja was not unexpected as one of the famous quotes by Sir Onyeme is, “Do well as much as you can and help others, seek peace always and pursue it as God demands of us.”  So, with such a mindset, it was expected that Sir Onyeme, who is the Chairman of Delta State Boundary Committee, having gone through files placed before him on the assumption of duty and having listened to the cries of Deltans who are living in boundary communities and for fear of such boundary issues leading to loss of lives and property, moved the team to those who can ensure that the right things are done when it comes to inter-state or international boundaries.

It was on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, when the Deputy Governor left Asaba, via the Asaba International Airport to meet an appointment with the National Boundary Commission scheduled to be held that same day.

The team from Delta was well received on arrival by the Director-General, National Boundary Commission, Surveyor Adamu Adaji.

Deputy Governor Onyeme was brief but concise in his request from the Boundary Commission as he said,  “l am here on the directives of the Governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori to present to the Commission some critical boundary disputes that have been brought before the Delta State Boundary Committee because the Delta State Government have confidence in the ability of the National Boundary Commission as empowered by the law to do justice to the matters brought before her.

“The disputes are between Delta State (Warri North Local Government Area) and Ondo State, Delta State (Ukwuani Local Government Area) and Edo State, Delta State (Ethiope West Local Area) and Edo State, and Delta State (Ugbodu Community, Aniocha North Local Government Area)  and Edo State.

“For us in the Delta State Boundary Committee, we have made several efforts to appeal to our communities to live in peace with each other, thereby enhancing the spirit of peaceful co-existence at intra and inter-state levels in line with the MORE Agenda of His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori-led Administration.

“The Delta State Government is appealing to the National Boundary Commission to intervene in these disputes to resolve same to avoid further provocation that might lead to a total breakdown of law and order in the areas, despite appealing to our people to live in harmony with their neighbours.”

The Director-General of National Boundary Commission, Surveyor Adamu Adaji who was visibly elated to receive the team from Delta State, said: “We welcome His Excellency to the National  Boundary  Commission.  Let me start by commending you and saying that you have set the pace as the first in the new administration to pay us a courtesy call.

“We have had the opportunity to work very closely with the Delta State Government because that is one state that has shown a good example by having a well-established state boundary committee.

“You Excellency, we have heard your message, we will do all that we can to make sure that you succeed in your MORE Agenda.

“The State Governor is concerned with two inter-state boundary cases, the boundary between Delta and Ondo on one side, and the multiple-sectorial boundary disputes between Delta and her sister state of Edo.

“From experience and records, we find more problems when a state is split into two.  In most cases, you discover that by the time you are creating a new state, some of the local government will be migrated to the new state and hitherto inter-local government boundaries will transform into inter-state boundaries.  With such, it becomes imperative that they must be defined because the constitution provides that every state must have a territorial jurisdiction.

“The territorial jurisdiction of local governments is not inter-province because they are all in the same state, but when it becomes inter-state, it must be properly defined and demarcated.  So, it is not surprising that you have more of these challenges with your sister state, Edo, because, you were together and when you were together you had inter-local government boundaries that are now inter-state boundaries.

“I want to assure you that we will partner with the two states to make sure that these boundaries are defined amicably and made visible for the communities to respect where the boundaries are and also pave the way for development by the government of the two states.

“When you are weighed down with crisis management, it slows down the issue of development.

“The Ondo/Delta boundary issue is an issue that we thought we had resolved a long time ago because we went through a lot of processes, interventions at the highest levels, with the cooperation of the governments of the two states, with the federal government, we adopted political and technical approach to tackle the boundary between Delta and Ondo States.

“Your Excellency, I want to assure you that the internal boundary department will take up this challenge; I want to assure you of our readiness to work with you and also to congratulate you once more and to convey our gratitude to His Excellency, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori for granting you the permission to come and pay us this courtesy visit. It is a motivator, we have been motivated and we are going to take the issues of these boundaries very seriously.  And we want to assure you that before the end of your first tenure, we will have addressed the issues that you have raised.

“We wish you a safe trip back to Asaba, the capital of Delta State.

“Delta State is one of the states that we hold in high esteem because it is one of the  states that provide the resources that keep this country together and as such, we want to thank you for this visit.”

Some of those who accompanied the Deputy Governor on the visit include the Chairman of Ukwuani Local Government Area, Barr. Possible Ajede, Chairman of Warri North Local Government Area, Hon. Smart Asekutu, Chairman of Ethiope West Local Government Area, Hon. Nelson Owoso, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Boundary, Dr. Ernest Odega, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Delta State, Mrs. Gladys Puegeren.

There is no doubt that Deltans have chosen people with a proactive mindset, people who do not believe in procrastination to lead them.  So, with Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and Sir Monday Onyeme on the saddle of leadership, Delta is in safe hands. God bless Delta State.

Comrade Egugbo is the Senior Special Assistant on media to the Governor of Delta State.

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