Bakassi Returnees Sue Govt For N30b Over Displacement

Bakassi Returnees Sue Govt For N30b Over Displacement

For alleged acts of betrayal leading to the loss of their ancestral home at the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun, the returnees of Uruan Local Council Area of Akwa Ibom State have instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Federal Government, claiming damages in the tune of N30 billion.

In a writ of summons and statement of claim filed by Ukeme Ekpenyong of Wole Abidakun and Co. Law Firm, the plaintiffs include Bassey Augustine Efiong, Silas Clement Etim, Efiong Bassey Ekanem and Imaobong Edem Efiong (suing for themselves and on behalf of Bakassi Returnees of Uruan Local Council Area extraction.

Named in the suit as first to sixth defendants respectively are the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the National Assembly, Cross Rivers State government, Akwa Ibom State government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The plaintiffs seek against the defendants the following reliefs:

• a declaration that the defendants acted outrageously, recklessly, atrociously and unconscionably in their handling of the Bakassi Peninsula hand over issue;

• a declaration that the defendants betrayed the fiduciary relationship between them and the plaintiffs by not acting in the best interest of the plaintiffs vis-avis the handing over of Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroun;

• a declaration that the plaintiffs were vulnerable as far as the issue of the handing over of the Bakassi Peninsula by the 1st defendant (FRN) is concerned and the defendants took undue advantage of the plaintiffs’ vulnerability thereby recklessly inflicting severe emotional distress on the plaintiffs;

• a declaration that the failure of the sixth defendant (INEC) to register the plaintiffs in the voters register has deprived the plaintiffs of their voting rights both in the April 2011 general elections and the July 2012 local council elections;

• an order directing the 1st, 4th  and 5th Defendants (FG, Cross Rivers State government and Akwa Ibom State government respectively) to immediately provide basic amenities like schools, health centres, potable water, proper accommodation and means of transportation in the plaintiffs’ new settlements; and,

• an order directing the 6th defendant (INEC) to immediately commence the registration of eligible voters in the plaintiffs’ new settlements.

The plaintiffs are also seeking N20 billion as general damages and another N10 billion for the footing of exemplary damages.

Justice Mohammed Abubakar has fixed hearing in the matter for March 6, 2013.

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