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Bakassi returnees storm C’River govt house over non-payment of 20-month stipends

By Emma Una

CALABAR—Indigenes of Bakassi, who were forced out of their homes and villages that were ceded to Cameroon by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and settled at Ikot Effiom and Obutong in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State, yesterday, trooped to Governor Liyel Imoke’s office to protest the non-payment of their monthly stipends.

The indigenes, now refugees, claimed they had not been paid their monthly stipend, called conditional cash transfer of N5,000 per family for 20 months.

Mr. Nathan Monday and Mrs Agnes Eyo, who spoke for the returnees, said no fewer than 17 children have died in the settlement this year occasioned by the lack of health care facilities and hunger.

They said: “We have no money, no food, no drugs and nowhere to fish because Cameroon has since stopped us from going into the sea to practice our trade.”

According to them, Governor Imoke had visited the settlement twice and on each occasion he promised to assist them, but nothing has been forthcoming.

They added: “For over two years now, the N5,000 they used to give us every month has stopped coming and each time we go to the Commissioner for Social Welfare, she tells us the governor has not approved the stipend.

Meanwhile, our children are dying daily. So we are not going away from here until they pay us our money.”

When Vanguard visited the office of the Commissioner for Social Welfare, Mrs Patricia Anderly, she was said to have gone for the weekly executive council meeting and several calls to her phone were not answered.

However, Ms Edisua Usangiso, Chairman of Bakassi, who addressed the protesters, said she will rent buses to take them back to their settlement and make plans to find them jobs.


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