Bakassi Indigenes Disagree On Place Of Resettlement

Channels Television  
Updated April 21, 2013

It was a clash of interest from diverse groups, on where the displaced Bakassi people should be permanently resettled at a public hearing in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

While, some preferred to be resettled in Ikang, a dry land, others insisted that, they be resettled in Day Spring Peninsular, a riverine community, to enable them access to their means of livelihood; fishing .

The public hearing was an assembly made up of prominent members of Bakassi who are vast on its history, political stalwarts, representatives of the traditional council, and some displaced persons.

The representative of different groups stated their intentions one after the other. To some, the federal government should develop on already laid down infrastructure at Ikang, an area that once served as a temporal home for the displaced.

Others demanded that, the Bakassi people whose predominant occupation is fishing, ought to be resettled in a riverine area, to have access to their livelihood, without fear, as was the case in the Ceeded oil Peninsular before the ICJ ruling.

However, the Bakassi Support Group, led by a member representing Calabar Municipality/ Odukpani, in the House of Representatives; Nkoyo Toyo, insisted that, the federal government should go back to the treaty signed many years ago, stating in clear terms, that the Bakassi people will be protected, and their access to International waters, and the sea will not be restricted.

She expressed the disappointment that the Nigerian government has failed in its responsibility of protecting the Bakassi people from the Cameroonian gendarmes, as many Nigerians have lost their lives in the ceded peninsular.

She noted that some are still held hostage without any response from government on the issue.

To the group, buying back the rich oil peninsular is the only answer to the Bakassi issue.

A member in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Efefiong Antigha, a onetime sea transporter, an off spring of fisherman from the peninsular, pleaded with the Presidential Committee members, to allow truth prevail in making recommendations to the federal government, as the Bakassi issue is long overdue.

The Minister of Interior; Abba Moro, summed up the committees stand on the issue, saying that, they will make recommendations based on the memoranda submitted and the possibilities of habitation without sentiments from either factions.

The committee through its chairman, and deputy Governor of Cross River state, confirmed that, 12 memoranda from different groups were submitted to them.