Senator Florence Ita-Giwa
By Zacheaus Somorin
The Bakassi indigenes, led by their political leader, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Tuesday stormed the Nigerian Television Authority’s regional office in Victoria Island, Lagos pleading with the Federal Government to resettle them at Dayspring 1and 2 and Kwa Island-unceded parts of Bakassi Penninsula.
The indigenes who were seen displaying their voters’ cards, said it was to affirm that the unceded areas within the region have been voting and was still part of the Nigerian state and not Cameroun.
After an exclusive chat with the NTA’s management team led by Mrs. Aina Scot, Ita-Giwa addressed reporters, emphasising that rather than waste resources in appealing the ICJ judgment, government should urgently address issues relating to resettlement of the Bakassi people in their places of choice which are Days Spring 1 and 2 and Kwa Islands, as promised by Federal Government in 2006.
She affirmed the Bakassi people’s affinity with the Efik Kingdom in Cross River State, who are original owners of the Bakassi Peninsula.
“As painful as it may be, we will refrain from condemning the Federal Government’s decision not to revisit or belatedly appeal the 2002 ICJ judgment ceding the bulk of our homeland to Cameroun. If good sense had prevailed 10 years ago, we may not have found ourselves in this quagmire. As a peace-loving people, we have chosen to count our losses and move on as a sacrifice for the peace and stability of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, our fatherland,’’ she stated.
Ita-Giwa added that the people are not in tune with “futile efforts aimed at securing resources that were not used to develop our people in the past nor is it likely that it will be used for that purpose in the future”, arguing that such has been ‘used as a conduit for far too long.’
She added: “We abhor violence and reject any attempt to militarise our agitation. It is our contention that resources could be put to better use for the development of infrastructures in our chosen new abode as well as the development of vital human capacity of our industrious people.
The issue of revisiting the ICJ judgment is belated. We want to settle down for our people to be taken off the streets. We are not interested in secession because we are all Nigerians. We are not interested in any secession or appeal for Nigeria to regain the part of Bakassi that has been ceded to Cameroun.’’
She pointed out that Bakassi people are only interested in being settled in Days Spring and the only unceded area with their identity intact. “We don’t want government to go and put money on unnecessary ventures.
She described the call for the appeal of the ICJ judgment being championed by some people, as unnecessary venture, explaining that ‘some people will use the avenue to siphon money out of this country in the name of appeal, which we may not win,’ saying that the government should rather use the money to resettle the people and provide infrastructure in the areas.