Malabar – The Senate on Tuesday said that the Federal Government had not neglected Bakassi Local Government Area and the returnees after the ceding of the oil rich peninsula to Cameroon in 2008.
Sen. Abdullahi Gumel, Chairman Senate Committee on State and Local Government Affairs, said this in Calabar when he visited the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, shortly after an over-sight function to Bakassi border communities.
Gumel, who led the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on the oversight function, said that the Federal Government earmarked over N300 million for citing of developmental projects in Bakassi in the 2016 budget.
According to him, 50 per cent of the money has since been released to contractors and that some projects are awaiting inauguration, while others are 65 per cent competed.
“We have inspected the health care centres with solar powered borehole, the modern market, the security out post and others in Bakassi Local Government.
“I want to say that the Federal Government has not neglected the people of Bakassi as it is being speculated in some corners. Over N300 million was earmarked for developmental projects in that area.
“What I and my team saw on ground in Bakassi as part of our oversight function to border communities is commendable,’’ he said.
Mr Dumoipre Wills, the Executive Secretary of Border Commission Development Agency, appealed to the state governor to enhance peace in Bakassi, saying that contractors handling projects in the area were facing challenges from angry youths in the area.
According to Wills, 21 states in Nigeria involving 105 local government areas are having border communities and that some do not have motorable roads.
He said that aside from infrastructure, the commission provided 10 boats and engines, fishing nets and other tools to resident in the 10 political wards of Bakassi since the people were predominantly fish farmers.
Rep. Nasiru Zangon-Daura, Chairman House Committee on Special Duties, said that the Federal Government was passionate about the development of Bakassi.
“As we went round today on oversight function, we saw solid infrastructures put in place to better the lives of residents in Bakassi,’’ he said.
Responding, Esu expressed happiness with the interest of the Federal Government over the plight of the Bakassi returnees.
Esu said that the previous administration in the state set up the State Border Commission with a view to provide people in the border communities with the basic necessities of life.
“We are happy that the Federal Government is interested in developing Bakassi and making the area a comfort zone for the returnees.
“As a government, we will be very happy to see that the ongoing projects are completed and inaugurated,’’ he said.