By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Cross River National Front, comprising of some of the most eminent personalities in Cross River State, has alleged the disproportionate discrimination of the state in Nigeria, saying that twice its people have been ceded to the Cameroons without consultation and protection.
The group, an offshoot of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, comprising leading personalities in politics and retired military officers, called for the restructuring of the country to enable “a fairer, more equitable, united and prosperous federation.”
In a communiqué by Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, convener; Ntufam EdetAsim, Secretary among 18 other leading personalities in the state, the group said: “Noting the current wave of agitations by different sections of the Nigerian state for self-determination and restructuring, the Front concluded that the agitations are well founded arising from general discontent with the current structure of the Nigerian federation which we believe is unacceptable and unsustainable. The people of Cross River State have borne a disproportionately heavy burden of the flawed structure of the Nigerian State.
“Cross River State has received the least protection from the Nigerian state. Twice have our territories been ceded to Cameroon without consultation, let alone protection. Our people have been turned into refugees in their ancestral lands. We firmly insist that it is time to have precise and free discussions on the articles of association amongst the different peoples of Nigeria, with all options open for discussion. The unity of the Nigerian federation can only be founded on equity, justice and equality for all citizens and discussions in this regard must be commenced immediately in a peaceful, honest and accommodating atmosphere to avoid the country being pushed into a situation of chaos and confusion.
“The machinery for negotiation of the association with the Nigerian state by the various peoples and nationalities cannot lie with the National Assembly because of the imbalance in representation structured into the National Assembly by various military regimes. We, therefore, support implementation of the various resolutions arrived at by the 2014 National Conference which will allow the states as Federating Unit to control and manage their resource and constitutionally manage their affairs.”