Talking about ageing gracefully, one personality that fits into that description is Senator Florence Ita-Giwa.
The politician, popularly known as Mama Bakassi needs no introduction. Her boisterous personality at social gatherings continues to make enduring statements.
Ita-Giwa stands shoulder-high as a true definition of a cosmopolitan African woman. She bravely sojourned into politics many years back when many women would not even dream about it.
She rose through the ranks and eventually represented her people at the Federal House of Representatives and also at the Senate.
While she grew as a politician, she never abandoned her maternal responsibilities.
She is a proud mother and grandmother who extends her motherly role beyond her immediate family. This feat bagged her the informal title – Mama Bakassi, a testament of her selfless service to the Bakassi people.
The elegant lady was married to the renowned late journalist and founding Editor of Newswatch Magazine, Dele Giwa.
Metrofile got up-close and personal with the style icon who is celebrating her 70th birthday.
The Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, is seeking adequate protection of the oil rich Tongeji Island, lying between Ogun State in Southwest Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.
Governor Amosun said he made the demand to ensure that the Island would not go the way of Bakassi Peninsula, which was seeded to the Republic of Cameroon.
He made the call while in a meeting with the newly appointed General Officer Commanding, 81 division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Henry Edet, at the Governor’s Office in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, the state’s capital.
While reiterating that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state, the Governor also commended them for the relative peace in the state which he said had contributed in no small measure to the socio-economic and political development of the state.
The Nigerian Navy has given an assurance that the country would no longer lose any of its territorial boundaries to another country as was the case with the Bakassi Peninsula which was ceded to Cameroon some years ago, leaving thousands displaced.
According to the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Charles Medani, security is being heightened at the borders, following the establishment of a new Naval base at Ikuru, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State to enable the Nigerian Navy effectively pursue its statutory duties.
The FOC, who led some officers and men from the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command in Calabar, on a boat acade to the new Naval post, averred that the establishment of the base became necessary following its utmost significance to Nigeria’s economy, as over 80 oil wells are said to be operational in the area.
He added that the base was strategically located to enable a clearer view of the nation’s borders from a distance and would also allow for check on the activities of oil thieves, following the absence of security outfit around that axis.
Rear Admiral Charles Medani also used the opportunity of his maiden visit to the base, after its kick off, to solicit for operational tools in order to enable full take off.
The Cross-River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, has identified loss of territorial boundary without due compensation to victims of Bakassi Local Government Area of the state, as a major challenge facing his state and that should be discussed during the national dialogue.
Ahead of the proposed National Conference, he also said that lack of maintenance of federal roads across the state by the Federal Government was a major challenge facing the state, and it should be addressed at the forum.
He was speaking to a cross-section of Cross-River State citizens drawn from all classes at the Governor’s Lodge in Calabar, the State Capital on the need for them to be fully involved in the exercise and serve as true representatives of the state.
He noted that the many challenges of the state, if addressed, would give residents of the state a sense of belonging and enhance the transformation agenda of his administration before the end of his tenure come 2015.
According to Imoke, the state was in full support of the national dialogue, considering the many challenges threatening the unity of Nigeria as a country.
He expressed belief that, the forum would serve as an avenue to dialogue and discuss on the federation, the unity of Nigeria and its development as intended by its founding fathers.
Contrary to some beliefs that similar exercise had in the past not achieved positive results, Imoke averred that the last one held during the administration of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, led to the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution.
The Nigerian House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Special Duties to investigate the alleged omission of some persons in the resettlement of displaced people of the disputed Bakassi Peninsula.
The resolution was reached after a debate on the motion presented to review the report of the presidential committee on the resettlement of displaced people.
Most lawmakers supported the position presented, agreeing that it will not be right to implement the report and leave out the aboriginal inhabitants of the peninsula.
The issue came up as a matter of urgent national importance, with the House stressing the need to review the report of the Presidential Committee on the Resettlement of Displaced People from Bakassi Peninsula.
The report is due to be implemented in the 2014 budget.
A member of the House representing Akwa Ibom, Robinson Uwak, asked that the Minister of Justice be urged to take legal action against the Republic of Cameroon for breaches of African Human Right laws relating to the unfair treatment of some Nigerians living in Bakassi.
Another member, Hon Kamal Akinlabi called on the House to start the domestication of Bakassi treaty.
“Unless this is done it will be a motion without movement,” he said.
The Committee on Special Duties is to submit its findings to the house within four weeks.
Over 2000 Nigerians who previously lived in Bakassi Peninsula and were forcefully ejected by Cameroonian security agents on 7th March 2013 have appealed to the Federal Government to relocate them to their ancestral home.
The displaced persons decried the deplorable state they live in as they have no shelter and so are forced to sleep in a school.
One of the displaced persons, Mary Effiong described the situation as ‘hard’.
“Life is hard, life is so hard. Even when the government is trying, we cannot meet up again in life. We are suffering, our children are really suffering
What we really need is for the government to really support us and our children and we want to go back to where we came from,” she added in tears.
The camp leader, Etim Okon credited the Cross River state government for her efforts in ensuring that they are provided with food.
However, he said that food is not what they need but proper resettlement in their ancestral home.
A member of the Presidential Committee on displaced persons, Abba Moro, assured the people that the committee is doing its best to ensure that the displaced persons are resettled soon.
Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola at his book launch on Saturday blamed Nigeria’s loss of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon on a treaty between Britain and Germany as well as the lack of understanding of past administrations in Nigeria.
Speaking at the book launch in his honour, Mr Ajibola gave reasons for thejudgement passed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as regards the lost land.
He said, “At the time that the British decided on ceding the entire area of Bakassi to Germany; it was not owned at that time by the British. It was that agreement that was being mainly relied upon by us here.”
He expressed doubts on any hope of re-claiming the lost land.
The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to initiate the process of conducting a referendum for Nigerians in the Bakassi Peninsula in Cross River State.
In a motion raised at plenary on Thursday by Mr. Ayi Ekpenyong, the lawmakers pointed out that the alleged incessant and blatant violations, frequent extra-judicial killings and incarceration by the Camerounian authority calls for self-determination of the Bakassi people to ascertain their future.
This is coming a day after the displaced people of Bakassi asked the Federal Government to resettle them at Dayspring Island as a compensation for the loss of their ancestral home to the Republic of Cameroun.
Moved by the outcry from displaced Nigerians in the Bakassi Peninsula, the House agreed that the Bakassi people deserve to be given a platform to exercise their right to self-determination which is an inalienable right provided in the 1966 International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
The lawmakers also condemned the whole process of the ceding of peninsula to Cameroun, arguing that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not send the agreement to the National Assembly for ratification and it, therefore, does not comply with the provisions of the Constitution.
The displaced people of Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State are demanding from the Presidential Commitee on the Plight of Bakassi a resettlement at Dayspring Island as a compensation for the loss of their ancestral home to the Republic of Cameroon.
The Bakassi Returnees bared their minds at a people’s centered interactive forum in Calabar, Cross River State, to profer lasting solutions to their plights which has lingered for over 10 years.
In 2002, the International Court of Justice had in its ruling, ordered that Bakassi Peninsula be taken over by Republic of Cameroon.
Over ten years down Memory lane, the Jonathan-led administration has instituted a committee, led by the Acting Governor of Cross River State, Efiok Cobham, alongside other members to look into their plight and report back by the end of February.
The leaders and members of the community are now requesting for a permanent home, well developed with infrastructures where they would have no political, cultural, social or economic dispute.
As the Presidential Committee sets to begin its work, the displaced Bakassi returnees are hopeful that justice will be meted on them.
The House of Representatives Committee on Justice has invited the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) to explain the government’s plan for Nigerians still residing in the disputed Bakassi Peninsula.
The federal law maker representing Bakassi in the House, Representative Nkoyo Toyo, had drawn attention of the committee to the zero allocation made to cater for Nigerians in the peninsula.
Solicitor General of the Federation, Abdullahi Yola, who represented the minister was however not able to speak on the matter.
Yola led other officials from agencies under the ministry, to defend the 2013 budget proposal of the ministry.
The lawmakers insisted on knowing the plans made by the ministry for the citizens of Nigeria still residing in the ceded Bakassi Peninsula, claiming the government is still responsible for them.
The lawmakers expressed their displeasure over the inability of the minister to appear before them to provide them with firsthand information of the ministry’s plans.
The meeting was postponed to a later day in the week, when the minister will be available to make known the plans of the ministry to the lawmakers.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002 passed a judgment ceding Bakassi to Cameroun following the dispute between Nigeria and Cameroun on the area.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo on Wednesday presided over a meeting on the resolution of the loss of the 76 oil wells by the Cross rivers state government in his conference room at the state house, Abuja.
The meeting which examined the judgement of the Supreme Court ruling on the matter requested the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMFC) to make presentations as to the way forward.
While making the presentation, the chairman RMFC stated that the commission has been meeting to find ways to advise government on the need to provide succour to Cross-rivers state due to the financial discomfort it suffered by the judgement of the Supreme Court.
He further stated that Section 5 (7) RMFC Act stipulates that for the purposes of the act and for avoidance of doubt, where any state of the federation suffers any loss which is outside its control, the stabilization funds shall be used to give succour to such a sate.
Furthermore, the meeting examined the new security challenges posed at the Bakassi peninsula on the loss of innocent lives through the activities of some foreign bodies and noted that as the Green Tree Agreement is nearing expiration, measures need to be to be taken to address such security challenges.
The Vice-President directed that a detailed report with relevant evidence be provided to enable government act decisively.
Bakassi indigenes on Wednesday appealed against the dismissal of their suit to void the Green Tree Agreement, by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The plaintiffs had in a motion ex-parte, sought for an order voiding the controversial Green Tree Agreement (GTA), Nigeria entered with Cameroon in 2006 as they applied for an order of mandamus that would compel the Federal Government to by any means available to it, repossess, occupy and take full legal and administrative control of the Bakassi Peninsula.
Presiding Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole however dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction, noting that the plaintiffs, failed to file an affidavit in support of their suit.
Justice Kolawole stressed that a careful perusal of the processes before the court, showed that the plaintiffs only filed a verifying affidavit; an action he said was contrary to the rules of the court.
Justice Kolawole added that the court lacked the jurisdiction to delve into the substantive matters that were raised in the suit, saying the issues were “political and highly volatile.
Nigeria lost any chance of appealing the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun on the 10th 0f October 2012, following the refusal of the Federal Government to appeal the ruling delivered a decade ago.