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May 28, 2023

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE JOINT MEETING OF OFFICIALS ON BENUE TARABA INTERSTATE BOUNDARY

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By: Kuni .G. Isaac

In its continued efforts towards making further progress in the resolution/definition process of the Benue/Taraba Interstate Boundary, the Commission convened a Joint Meeting of Officials on the Interstate Boundary at Valencia Hotels, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Wednesday 9th February 2022.

The meeting discussed the way forward and worked out modalities for the final demarcation of the boundary.

  1. Surv. Adamu A. Adaji, Director-General, National Boundary Commission chaired the meeting. His Excellency, Engr. Benson Abounu, Deputy Governor, Benue State led the State delegation, while His Excellency, Engr. Haruna Manu, the Deputy Governor, Taraba State led the State delegation. Surv. Magaji Duniya, Ag. Director, Internal Boundaries, Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation represented the Surveyor-General of the Federation.
  2. In his welcome remarks, the Director General, National Boundary Commission, noted that any resolution reached, will be followed vigorously to its logical conclusion. He urged all the stakeholders to discuss the issue dispassionately and come up with agreeable resolutions to facilitate the demarcation.
  3. In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of Benue State recalled that meetings held in the past did not yield the desired result. He reiterated that boundaries are not meant to divide the people but to unite, and that the major issue to be addressed here is the issue of conflict and called attention to displaced people from the internal conflict in Taraba State who are taking refuge in Benue State. He therefore appealed to the National Boundary Commission to commence the demarcation process as quickly as possible, with adjustment in the 1923/1924 description where possible to reflect the
    wishes of the people.
  4. The Deputy Governor of Taraba State in his remarks stated that the position of Taraba State is to totally agree with 1923/24 description and therefore urged the National Boundary Commission to speedily commence the demarcation. He promised that the State will sensitize the border communities to allow National Boundary Commission do their work. Reacting to the issue of internally displaced persons, the Deputy Governor informed the meeting that the State was not aware of any such case of internally displaced persons in Taraba State but promised to look into the
    issue.
  5. Notation.

6.1 After exhaustive deliberation the meeting noted as follows:

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i. that the two states and the Federal Government are committed to the final
demarcation of the boundary;

ii. that there is a need for the affected communities be sensitized on the need to cooperate with the National Boundary Commission during the demarcation;

and iii. that the National Boundary Commission has no power to tinker with the boundary as described in the 1923/1924 description.

  1. Resolution After exhaustive deliberation, the meeting resolved:

i. that the NBC shall demarcate the boundary in accordance with the 1923/24 description;

ii. that the two States and the Federal Government shall jointly enlighten and sensitize the affected Communities on the need to cooperate with the Joint Field Team;

iii. that the Benue/Taraba interstate boundary shall be further discussed at the Internal Boundary Technical Committee (IBTC) Meeting before
the commencement of the demarcation exercise;

iv. that the two States shall notify the National Boundary Commission not later than end of April, 2022 of readiness for the demarcation to commence;

V. that a dispute management committee comprising of five (5) members each from the States shall be constituted to resolve disputes that might arise in the course of the demarcation exercise; and
vi. that the Chairman of the Commission, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria may be requested to write the Governors of the
two States for cooperation and support of the demarcation exercise.

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