INEC Staff Stranded At Sea, Fail To Conduct Elections In Bakassi Wards

INEC Staff Stranded At Sea, Fail To Hold Elections In Bakassi Wards

 

Voters in four wards of Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State were unable to exercise their franchise in the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday after the electoral officials deployed to the area failed to get there.

The electoral officials were said to have been stranded on the high sea for about 10 hours while on their way to the communities on Saturday.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Frankland Briyai, told Channels Television on Sunday that the boat conveying the electoral officials got grounded somewhere on the sea.

Briyai said, “It (the boat) was stuck and couldn’t come out again. Towards evening time, the Navy commander sent a team to rescue them. So they came back successfully.

“Four wards could not have elections yesterday, so we are waiting to get instructions from Abuja on when we’re going to hold those elections.”

 

A file photo of electoral officials in Cross Rivers State

 

One of the members of the ad-hoc staff, Mrs Rosa Angioha, also told Channels Television that they arrived at Bakassi at about 9 pm on Friday.

According to her, the electoral officials “slept at an open field till early morning of Saturday. We left Bakassi for the sea at about 9 am (on Sunday).”

Mrs Angioha said the team was on the sea for about three hours, before men of the Marine Police told them they had missed their way.

She added that the police were able to convey only 20 of them back to Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The rest of them were said to have been unable to get help until 7 pm, when they returned to Calabar.

Ita-Giwa Asks Nigerians To Remember IDPs Amid Festivities

Senator Florence Ita-Giwa has called on Nigerians to remember displaced person in camps across the nation amidst the Christmas and end of year festivities.

She specifically asked Nigerians to reflect on the pains and agony faced by the displaced people of Bakassi who according to her, are presently marking their fifth Christmas celebration as refugees packed up in classrooms.

Senator Ita-Giwa made the call when she visited the IDPs with bags of rice and a cow as part of efforts to alleviate their suffering and help them enjoy the yuletide.

She also used the opportunity to remind the Federal Government of the plights of the refugees who according to her, have been begging to be permanently resettled at Day Spring Island.

“There is this need for me to remind Nigerians that, as all of us are killing our cows and our turkeys and chicken at home and eating and celebrating in the comfort of our aired condition homes that there are people here sleeping on the floor of classrooms, there are children here without clothes and these are children that should be given a future.

“My appeal now in the name of God is that, can Nigeria come back and look at the plights of these people, am hearing about how billions of naira and dollars paid to the IDP camps in North and all that, this is Nigeria as well.

“Some of them should come here so that, we can assist this governor,” she stated.

Ita-Giwa also visited alongside two children whom she had picked among the other displaced ones to train personally and now according to her, they are doing well.

“These children, Williams and Henry, five years ago they were like them and these children are now making me proud. These children have no body, they were running around in this camp and the reason why I took them out was that, they didn’t have father and mother, so I had to take them. Their parents were killed in their presence and today they are doing well.

“I brought them here so that they know where they are coming from, they are all Bakassi children so that they don’t just end life in the comfort of their homes,” she stated.

Edwin Clark Calls Off 90-Day Ultimatum Issued To FG

Elder Statesman, Chief Edwin Clark has called off the 90-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government to fulfil its promises to the people of the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta leaders had called on the Federal Government to take more serious steps to protect the lives of Nigerian citizens in Bakassi.

They also sought the establishment of a presidential commission to protect Nigerians still living in Bakassi.

Furthermore, the group had decried the non-ratification of the Green Tree Agreement which according to them, has the ability, if implemented, to protect Nigerians who chose to remain in Bakassi.

Read Also: Edwin Clark, Others Call On FG To Protect Bakkasi Citizens

The appeal came few days after hundreds of Bakassi indigenes were chased out of Cameroon with many of them feared dead.

In March, the Federal Government had announced plans to resettle the IDPs from Bakassi as they described the ceding as a national loss.

The Acting President who spoke at a town hall meeting in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, however, promised that displaced indigenes of the region would be resettled.

He said the Federal Government would see to the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Rail to foster economic development in the state and for the good of the people.

Reps Condemn Alleged Killing Of Nigerians By Cameroonians

Reps Urge Osinbajo To Swear In Ministers-Designate
File photo

The House of Representatives has condemned the alleged killing of 97 Nigerians in Bakassi by Cameroonian gendarmes.

Rep. Gabriel Kolawole, the sponsor of the motion of urgent national importance, informed the House of the recent attacks which according to him, contravenes the Green Tree Agreement signed by both the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments.

Read Also: Bakassi Indigenes Chased Out Of Cameroon, Many Feared Dead

The House has mandated its Committee on Foreign Affairs to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to stop such occurrences in the future and also work out the compensation that must be paid to the affected families.

Read Also: Edwin Clark, Others Call On FG To Protect Bakkasi Citizens

Meanwhile, former Minister of Information, Edwin Clark and other leaders from the Niger Delta region have called on the Federal Government to take more serious steps to protect the lives of Nigerian citizens in Bakkasi.

They made this known on the platform of the pan Niger Delta forum, seeking the establishment of a presidential commission to protect Nigerians still living in Bakkasi.

The group also decried the non-ratification of the Green Tree agreement which according to them, has the ability, if implemented, to protect Nigerians who chose to remain in Bakkassi.

Bakassi Indigenes Chased Out Of Cameroon, Many Feared Dead

The plight of Bakassi indigenes has taken a turn for the worse as hundreds of them were chased out of Cameroon with many feared dead.

Those of them who made it to Ikang in Cross Rivers State on Thursday arrived with tales of suffering and despair.

They were among the Bakassi indigenes that chose to remain in Old Bakassi after the International Court of Justice ceded the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon in 2002.

According to them, they were chased out by Cameroonian Gendarmes for not being able to pay a tax levy of N100,000 imposed on them by the Cameroonian government.

The returnees arrived Ikang Local Government Area of Cross River State at midnight on Wednesday and many others are presently scattered in different locations in neighbouring Akwa Ibom State and communities around Ikang.

Speaking at the Ikang Jetty, some of the returnees alleged that, refusal to pay the huge tax imposed on them, resulted in a faceoff which led to the death of many of them before they were chased.

Speaking in English through leaders of the Ikang Bakassi IDPs, they decried the ill treatment meted on them by the Cameronian government in violation of the agreements reached for ceding their ancestral home.

They used the opportunity to call out to the International Community to intervene and once and for all address the lingering issues regarding their permanent resettlement as agreed by relevant bodies.

The fate of indigenes of Bakassi has remained uncertain since the ICJ ceded the peninsula to Cameroon.

 

Alleged Diversion Of Relief Materials: Bakassi Youths Call For Probe

Youths and elders of the Bakassi community in Cross River State have taken to the streets in a protest demanding that a panel be set up to investigate allegations of diversion of relief materials meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The whistle on this alleged theft was first blown by former senator representing the Bakassi people, Florence Ita-Giwa but there appears to be a twist as the people have now accused her of masterminding the diversion.

The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) was equally not spared by the protesters as they wondered why the body would hand over the materials to the local government instead of direct delivery to the IDPs.

The Clan Heads have also called on security agencies to continue their investigation with the view to recovering all the diverted relief materials adding that all those found guilty be brought to book.

Read Also: Bakassi Leaders Condemn Diversion Of Relief Materials For IDPs

Bakassi Leaders Condemn Diversion Of Relief Materials For IDPs

Borno IDP's Begin Mass Production Household ProductsThe Clan Heads and Leaders of Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State have condemned in totality the diversion of relief materials donated to the fire victims of Ata-Ema Clan in Day Spring by the National Refugees Commission to a Private home.

The Clan Heads are also calling on Security agencies to continue their investigation with the view to recovering all the diverted relief materials and all the identified culprits brought to book.

The Clan Head of Ata Ema, Etubom Okon Etim Okon Asuquo, spoke to pressmen in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, following a resolution reached a Clan Head and Stakeholders meeting.

Bearing their thoughts after an intensive meeting to deliberate on what just befell the people, the Clan Heads stressed the need for a proper resettlement of the people of Bakassi in Dayspring Island, as this would check such developments as the diversion of materials.

They condemned the development and called for Justice to take its course.

Also, the Leader, Bakassi Local Government Area, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa in a separate interview called on the Federal Government to probe the distribution of relief materials across the country.

Ceding Of Bakassi To Cameroun, A National Loss – Osinbajo

Osinbajo and Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade

Almost 10 years after Nigeria ceded the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has described the action as a huge loss to the country.

The Acting President who was speaking at a town hall meeting in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, however, promised that displaced indigenes of the region will be resettled.

He said the Federal Government would see to the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Rail to foster economic development in the state and for the good of the people.

“This (ceding of Bakassi) is a development that all of us consider a loss. But the President strongly believes that while we ruminate over the legal issues, we must not allow Nigerian citizens to suffer. The Federal Government is determined to do more with the displaced in Bakassi,” Professor Osinbajo said.

Fishermen Urge FG To Beef Up Security In Calabar

fishermen, FG, CalabarFishermen and traders at the Henshaw beach in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River state, are calling on both the state and federal government to strengthen security along the high sea.

This according to them, is in order to prevent them from the daily harassment encountered on the sea by Cameroonian jam-darns.

The request is coming on the heels of series of harassment they have faced, which has in turn hindered them from their fishing activities.

As a result, fish and crayfish have become scarce commodities in recent times in Calabar, the Cross River state capital.

The Henshaw beach town is the major market known for the sale of crayfish, fresh fish, shrimps, snails and other sea-foods.

The market which is usually a beehive of activity as traders travel from within and outside the state to come buy the commodities, has dropped in the patronage level.

The fishermen and traders who have to get around Bakassi area of the high sea put the blame on the insecurity on the waters.

Speaking to Channels Television, they claimed they are usually detained and asked to pay a ransom before they are freed.

They added that in most cases, the money they travel with to purchase goods to bring back for sale, as well as their fishing boats are usually taken away from them.

One of the traders in tears, described her experience as an unfortunate one, while several other victims joined their voices in seeking help from the government.

The Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, said the Navy was not aware of the claims, but promised to look into the matter and extend its security moves to the flash points.

Furthermore, he called on the community to avail security agencies with useful information that would help them in their intelligence gathering, while promising not to disclose the caller’s identity.

The government has also promised that it would continue to partner the Navy and Marine Police with necessary logistics in order to step up their security measures.

State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji also assured them of the government’s prompt response to tackling the security challenge.

The fishermen and traders on the other hand are hopeful that the promised prompt intervention, would help them return to their businesses as soon as possible.

Troops Avert Bomb Attack In Maiduguri

Army, Boko Haram collaboratorsTroops of the Operation Lafiya Dole on Sunday morning averted the plans of a suicide bomber along Damboa road in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Eye witnesses say the suicide bomber was sighted along Damboa road, the same place where an explosion occurred barely 24 hours ago.

Frightened motorists travelling to Damboa-Biu were forced to turn back due to confusion.

Channels Television’s reporter who was at the Bakassi IDP camp reports that the suspect fled towards the back fence of the camp, where five people were killed on Saturday, with men of the sector Nine and civilian JTF in hot pursuit of the assailant.

Security operatives had to cordon off the camp while IDPs who had secured permits to step out were forced to stay back.

Civilian JTF sources say the assailant was killed in the process before he could detonate the IED strapped on his body.
His corpse has also been detonated at the Maiduguri specialist hospital, according to sources.

Twin Explosion Kills Five In Maiduguri

On Saturday, about nine people died and 24 others injured after two loud explosions rocked Maiduguri in the morning.

The  blast occurred at the Bakassi camp for Internally Displaced Persons while the second went off at the NNPC station along Damboa road in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

UNHCR, ECOWAS Sign MoU To Tackle Issues Of IDPs, Others

Angele Dikongue-AtanganaThe United Nations High Commission for Refugees, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Community of West African States, to jointly improve the situation of displaced people in the West African sub-region.

The UNHCR  has also predicted that people living in the Bakassi area may not be able to prove a link with either Nigeria or Cameroon in the nearest future.

The commission’s representative to Nigeria, Mrs Angele Dikongue-Atangana, made this known at a meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

She noted that the partnership framework between UNHCR and the ECOWAS parliament “comes at a critical time in the sub-region, where additional efforts are needed to improve the protection of the environment for persons of concern, and ensure the full respect of their rights”.

Mrs Angele explained that through the MoU signed on Wednesday, UNHCR and the ECOWAS parliament have formalized their cooperation into a framework.

UNHCR, ECOWAS, IDP'sAccording to her, “this would allow both organizations to better protect the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees, returnees, IDPs, stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness.

“It would also ensure proper interpretation and application of relevant international, regional and national laws” she explained.

For the sake of clarity, she went further to describe the stateless person, saying that there were many of them currently found in one state or the other within the sub-region.

“They are not citizens of those states, but cannot point to any other country of their origin because they found themselves there as displaced persons due to violence, hunger, disaster among others,” she added.

She admitted that the issue of statelessness was very old, and recalled that in 2014, a decade of combatting the issue was declared.

She, however, expressed hope that the partnerships that the UNHCR is entering into across the world, would bring the issue to an end eventually by the year 2024.

Troops Kill Seven Armed Militants In Bakassi, Recover Arms

Troops Kill, Armed Militants, Bakassi, Recover Arms, ArmyNigerian troops say that they have repelled an attack on soldiers after killing seven armed militants at Efut Esighi in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Army Public Relations Officer (APRO) Capt. Kayode Owolabi, said that the militants are members of a gang led by a notorious militant who goes by the nick name, G.I.

He explained that some of the militants wearing Nigerian military camouflage attacked troops’ position in the early hours of Thursday, Sept. 30.

Captain Owolabi added that troops recovered 250 rounds of ammunition, rocket propelled gun launcher, and GPMG belt links.

“The Commander 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, General Bulama Biu wants to make it abundantly clear that no militant group or criminal under any guise would be spared.

“The military and other security agencies will continue to hunt down any militant group or criminals that do not surrender.

“Earlier some of the militant camps and shrines have been located and destroyed by forces. Gen Bulama Biu thanks all patriotic and good people of the state for their timely information, support and urge them not to relent in their efforts while going about their legitimate business,” Owolabi concluded.