Bakassi Resettlement: FG Urged to Probe N37.5bn Relief Materials Sent to Cross River

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The internally displaced people of Bakassi have called on the Federal Government to investigate the disbursement of N37. 5 Billion it paid to Cross River State between November 2012 and February 2017 over the ceding of their territory to Cameroun, and the transfer of the oil well in the area to Akwa Ibom State.

This was revealed yesterday while staging a protest in Akwa Ikot Eyo Ndem, in Akpabuyo Local Government Area, where the IDP camps are located.
They also demanded an investigation into the alleged diversion of relief materials meant for the Atai Ema fire disaster victims, which were donated by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

Recently, the Chaiman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission(RMAFC), Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, during a courtesy call on the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, disclosed that the federal government had given N37.5 billion to the state over the loss of its 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State after Bakassi was handed over to Cameroun.

Addressing journalists, the leader of St. Marks Primary School resettlement camp, Etim Okon Ene, said the displaced people of the Bakassi peninsula want the federal government to ask the state government how it has used the amount of money because nothing has been done to resettle them in a permanent location where they can call their home.

Responding to a question about what should be done concerning the N37. 5 billion, Ene said: “Yes the federal government should rise up now and investigate. The EFCC, the DSS should find out where this money has gone to, “he said.

On the relief materials that were allegedly diverted, the camp leader accused some of the politicians from the state of toying with their wellbeing, but stated that the political leader of Bakassi, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, is a fighting a good fight for them, adding that those who actually diverted the relief materials are the ones attempting to tarnish her well-earned reputation.
“Today is a sad story for us. It appears we have been disowned. Politicians have rejected us. They are the ones we chose to be our leaders, but they have rejected us. They are trying to tarnish the image of innocent persons. They disown us that, we are not bonafide sons and daughters of Bakassi Peninsula, where our ancestral home had been taken to Cameroon.

“These persons are not from our place, but because of political interest they have spoken against the Mother of the Efik Kingdom.
They want to tarnish the image of our national leader. Senator Florence Ita-Giwa is a mother of all because since 2008 when we were first misplaced from our home, she has been the one that has been taking care of the people,”Ene said.

Also, the National Coordinator Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons, Prince Aston Joseph Inyang, said that, “The issue of Bakassi IDPs is yet to be addressed.”

Inyang said that the federal government could not take all the blame because they have been doing a lot for the IDPs.
However, he stated that not much has been forthcoming from the state governments where the IDPs have been staying in camps for years.
Commenting on the issue of the relief materials, Inyang said there was no petition against Ita-Giwa by the IDPs because they know she has always stood for their interest.

“I believe Ita-Giwa is a leader. I know she will not cheat. She has been helping the people. so when I heard that the IDPs had petitioned that she had diverted materials, I had to some down and see. They are just two Bakassi camps. The Akwa Ikot Eyo Edem camp and the Ekpri Ikang Camp. I had to meet my people to show me any petition. I have not seen any petition against her having diverted any material. I want to see the person that wrote the so-called petition.

Ita-Giwa who spoke to journalists at her residence in Calabar said she will not give up until the diverted relief materials were recovered.

“I address issues that I have evidence, and the issue I have been addressing for the past two months is the relief materials that was sent to the people of Atai Ema. Anytime I think about it, I get angry all over again. The people that did that thing are not human beings. No matter what they do to me, no matter the attempt to intimidate me, I will not give up on that fight. I have been on the struggle for Bakassi for about 28 years, and now on this struggle, I will not give up.