By Charles Ekanem
The member representing Bakassi/Calabar South/Akpabuyo federal constituency, Hon. Essien Ayi, has said that Bakassi returnees, whose ancestral homes were ceded to Cameroon, twelve years after were still occupying primary school, IDP camp in Bakassi, Cross River State.
Hon Ayi told journalists on Saturday that dozens of Bakassi people have passed on due to terrible conditions they were subjected to.
He said nobody fought Bakassi issue more than himself, recalling that in 2004, he moved his first motion in the National Assembly, which was the stopping of the ceding of Bakassi. This motion generated so much heat and attracted international attention, he said.
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Hon Ayi maintained that because of that motion, the ceding of Bakassi was delayed for two years, but it was eventually ceded in 2006 amid tears by the people of Bakassi. “The day they handed Bakassi to Cameroon, I was there, I saw people crying; these are the people we speak the same dialects” he said.
Regrettably, he noted that the Bakassi that was ceded did not have the domestication of the National Assembly as stated by the Section 5 of the Nigerian Constitution that said before any part of the country is ceded, it must have the domestication of the National Assembly, “That alone was enough to impeach the then President Obasanjo if we were to be in advance country” he stated.
Consequently, he pointed out that after the ceding he moved a motion for the speedy re-settlement of the people.
He said, “There was no proper re-settlement. There was three resettlement committee, one was headed by the former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, Senator Bassey was a member, I was a member of a subcommittee to do the census of those who want to come back, Bassey Andem was the Chairman of that sub-committee.
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“We submitted our report and after that we did not hear anything again. The next we heard was that N1b was released from the contingent of the President and state government then (Not Ayade Government) said he spent N450m for road to the resettlement camp.
Hon Ayi called on Federal Government to please come to the aid of the people by resettling them.