The displaced people of Bakassi Local Government Area in Cross River State have expressed their anger with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and the federal government for his failure to visit the state during his recent trouble –shooting mission to states in the Niger Delta region.
The Bakassi people stated this yesterday in Calabar as they also took a swipe at the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, saying he would take the blame eternally for handing over Bakassi to Cameroon until the displaced people were properly resettled.
Addressing a press conference in Calabar, the paramount ruler of Bakassi, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, said it was an act of disregard and discrimination against the Bakassi people by the vice-president, and the federal government.
Edet said the vice-president visited Akwa Ibom and other states in the Niger Delta region, but failed to visit Cross River State, which has problems of militancy and the problem of kidnapping, which started after the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon.
“I want to tell the vice-president who visited other areas that we are angry; particularly, the Bakassi people are angry with him, and the federal government; and that he has to visit us to actually know the plight, not only of this state, but Bakassi people.
Edet, who said Obasanjo was the “main actor” in the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon, failed to resettled them despite his promise to do so.
“Obasanjo made promises to us. We thought that he would be sincere. The way he met with us severally at the villa. I was a regular visitor at the villa. The way he talked to us as the father of the nation. The way he spoke with me personally, I was very sure that the Nigerian nation was going to do something.
“He promised us that we are going to leave to anywhere we are going to go, anywhere of our choice with all our institutions intact. We were never given that choice. Until now we have not been given that choice. He is still alive. He should also say something whether it was good for him as president to have ceded the area and told us to vacate the area without provision of anything. The Bakassi issue would be hanging on his neck and I think he should get it off his neck before God calls him. He never fulfilled any of those things.
“We are sure God will come by in this matter. We would not go to war, but the tears of the people would go to God. Those of them who have done us this harm, God will fight this fight, unless they go back and do what the promised they will do. My hope is of God and the Nigerian nation,” the monarch said.
He, therefore, state that the displaced people are calling n the federal government to implement the report of the presidential committee on a proper resettlement of the Bakassi people, which was established by the erstwhile administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The paramount ruler lamented that the report has not been implemented for about four years after since it was handed over to the federal government.
In the report cited by THISDAY, the presidential committee, among others, recommended that “the primary focus of the government should be to relocate the people to an environment where they can live comfortably and practice their profession.”
The committee also recommended that “the relevant agencies of the federal, state governments and the people must be involved in the physical planning and development of infrastructure in the area i.e. Dayspring 1, Dayspring 2 and Kwa Islands and a blueprint of necessary infrastructure be provided with required costing by organs of government.”
It also recommended the establishment of a N100 billion Special Fund for Bakassi development to be driven by the community, and monies realized, and or allocated to the Fund be utilized for education, job creation activities, long-term infrastructural development, business enterprise development, and enhancement of tourism for the people.
“The committee submitted their report on May 23, 2013, with a strong recommendation as contained in that report. Four years after the submission of the report to the federal government, nothing has been heard about it. What offense did we commit?
“Our present situation as a people is highly pathetic and worrisome as it is very painful for one to forgo his or her ancestral home and in such circumstances as we have found ourselves. We were hopeful that the federal government would implement the recommendations of the committee and end the matter in our collective interest.”
According to him, “Before the ceding of Bakassi, there were four built-up secondary schools (one of which was built by the NDDC with staff quarters) and all were fully equipped. There were also over 42 primary schools and two secondary schools, a comprehensive health clinic and over 10 health centers and an ambulance boat. What then have become the fate of these helpless youths, pregnant women, elderly people and children who have now been displaced forgotten and denied access to sound education and healthcare through no fault of their own? Do we think the increased rate of militancy and sea piracy in the Bakassi area and by extension the Gulf of Guinea in the near future?
“Please note that October 10, 2002, ICJ judgment affected the maritime boundary of Bakassi and the land boundary of the Lake Chad region of Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and other states. In the land area, the federal government had resettled the people. Why is the Bakassi resettlement dragging?” Edet stated.
Source: This Day