The Etche Ethnic Nationality says it is not part of the ongoing demand by a group of persons who are agitating for the creation of Enoa State.

According to a  map of the proposed state released by the agitators, Enoa which is an acronym for Etche, Ndoki, Omuma, Oyigbo and Asa is to be carved out of two existing South East states and two South South states.

The Ogbakor Etche Worldwide said in a signed statement made available to the Port Harcourt Telegraph that stakeholders from the ethnic nation were shocked by attempts to link them to demands for a new state without any form of consultation.

“We want to state categorically that we are unaware of this agitation and that we as Etche people did not make any contributions to it and therefore were not consulted.”

Dr Onwubiko Dike who has emerged as the Coordinator of the demand for Enoa State said, “On Thursday, we did a presentation of proposed ENOA State and same thing was done in Rivers State.

“About 50 copies of booklet which documented the proposed ENOA state has been sent to  Abuja.

“The proposed ENOA State has a population of about 6,422,578 people with a land mass of about 6,356.5 square kilometres.

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“The proposed State is located within the forest belt of Nigeria with a temperature that ranges from 20°c to 36°c. ENOA State would be bounded with Abia State in the North and North East, Imo State in the North West, Rivers State in the South East and South West and Akwa Ibom State in the East.”

But the Ogbakor Etche debunked what the agitators of the new state described as the “historical affiliation” of the people, saying the entire Etche nation was never part of a native Customary Court Area at Obehie.

“The submission erroneously claimed that Etche, Ndoki, Oyigbo and Asa were under one Customary Court Area at Obehie. This is not correct. Etche was balkanized among Aba, Owerri and Port Harcourt Provinces by the colonial administration”, the Ogbakor Etche explained.

“Eastern Etche (today’s Omuma LGA) was under Obehie Customary Court Area. The bulk of Etche was with Ikwerre in what was then Ikwerre-Etche Local Council and Native Court with Headquarter at Choba.

“Ikwerre-Etche Headquarters later moved to Isiokpo and Etche with Ikwerre were together until 1980.
Etche people are stock people of former Port Harcourt Province and therefore core Rivers people.

“As boundary people, we have a lot in common with our neighbors and recognize some of the affinities with the Asa and Azumini people. But we have never belonged to Aba Province. All Etche was in Port Harcourt Province before the Nigerian Civil War.

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“Most of Etche have been in Rivers State since the State was created. Etche people have never agitated to be placed elsewhere other than in Rivers State. We remain committed to Rivers State.

“We recognize and respect the right of any community to request to be constituted into a state. We are not requesting any. We were not consulted.

“We are not party to ENOA. We hereby state unequivocally that Etche Nation would not want to be associated with this project and request Dr. Onwubiko Dike to expunge Etche and Omuma Local Government Areas, from the list of  Ethnic Nation, clans and  communities that would make up NOA (Ndoki, Oyigbo  and Asa) State”, the Ogbakor Etche led by Charles Nwonuala stressed.

The issue of the inclusion of Etche in Enoa State is generating serious apprehension among Etche people at home and abroad.

Until the Ogbakor Etche came out with a position,  the Telegraph learnt that officials of the socio-cultural group who were startled by the revelation that Etche was included in Enoa were being bombarded with queries from concerned indigenes.

We have heard that a majority of Etche people resident abroad are kicking against the inclusion of their people in the proposed state.

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For the Etche American Foundation, the inclusion of Etche in the proposed new state is not an option.