President Muhammadu Buhari

The Chairman of the Bakassi Local Government Council in Cross River, Mr Amboni Iyadim, on Friday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to hearken to the voices of the displaced people of Bakassi and resettle them permanently.

Iyadim made the appeal at the inauguration of the executive members of the council in Ikot Effiom, the headquarters of Bakassi Local Government Area.

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The council boss lamented that 13 years after the Bakassi Peninsular was ceded to the neighbouring Republic of Cameroon, the aborigines had remained psychologically, physically and emotionally traumatised.

He pointed out that previous efforts by both the federal and State Governments to resettle the people had not gone far enough.

“It is as if nothing has really happened as the people are still traumatized. Therefore, there is no need to ensure that displaced people are permanently resettled.

“We lost our territory to Cameroon and later lost our littoral status which led to the loss of 76 oil wells by the state to Akwa Ibom and we are now left in want, crying like babies in the midst of abundance.

“What have we done wrong that the Federal Government has decided to abandon us?

“It is high time we drummed this neglect and abandonment louder so that they will hear and come to our rescue because the situation here in the camp they created for us is deteriorating by the day.”

Iyad argued that the different camps created by the government were not meant for permanent habitations, noting that there was an urgent need for permanent resettlement.

“I am appealing to the father of our nation, our kind-hearted and passionate President Muhammadu Buhari to give the Bakassi matter a special place in his development agenda by ensuring that we are permanently settled and compensation adequately paid in perpetuity.

“We did not leave Bakassi for any reason on our own. It was ceded in the national interest.

“However, the hardship occasioned by the ceding is now on us and our innocent children and we need our president to resolve this matter once and for all by ensuring that we are given our pride of place in Nigeria.”

The council chairman, however, lauded Gov. Ben Ayade for building a 52-unit housing estate at Ifiang Ayong for the displaced people of Bakassi.

He also expressed his appreciation to the immediate past administration of Sen. Liyel Imoke for constructing 200 housing units as well as the 40 housing units built by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Iyadim called on members of the newly-inaugurated executive council to live above board and see their appointments as a call to serve.

He called on stakeholders to shun partisanship and join him in the task of building a better Local Government for sustainable development.

Iyadim is the seventh chairman of the council since its creation 23 years ago.

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