Ita-Giwa, Others Disagree On Bakassi Indigenes Resettlement

Ita-Giwa, Others Disagree On Bakassi Indigenes Resettlement

A group led by a former Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, on Saturday disagreed with another body over where the displaced people from the Bakassi Peninsular should be settled.

Ita-Giwa, Others Disagree On Bakassi Indigenes Resettlement

While Ita-Giwa’s group wants  Dayspring Island,  a fishing settlement  along the estuaries of Calabar River, the second, led by the Chairman of Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State, Dr. Ekpo  Bassey, prefers  Ikot-Effiom in Ikang.

Ikot-Effiom  is  located the present headquarters of the council which was created after the old Bakassi was ceded to Cameroon.

Their argument caused  a melodrama during a  public hearing organised by the Presidential Committee on the Plight of Bakassi People.

Chairman of the committee and deputy governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, had to stand up to  calm frayed nerves during the session.

In his presentation, Dr. Ambrose Akpanika, who spoke on behalf of the Ita-Giwa  group, argued that since  the people of Bakassi  are  predominantly fishermen and farmers,  the  most sensible thing for the government to do  was  to resettle them in  Dayspring Island 1 and 2.

He said, “It is only appropriate that the people should be resettled in the area which will afford them the opportunity to continue their traditional trade which is fishing.”

But Bassey, who led his roup, argued that the Federal Government had long identified Ikang as the ideal place  for the resettlement by constructing 300 housing units in the area for the people.

Bassey, who alongside a former member of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Joe Etene and an ex-council chairman, Mr. Ani Esin, said  the state government had in recognition of the resettlement of the people in their Ikang,  passed a law  giving  legal backing to the to the resettlement of the people.

However, a member representing Calabar Municipality and Odukpani in the  House of Representatives, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo,   said the fight to reclaim Bakassi from Cameroun should not be seen as over.

In her comments, Ita- Giwa, who  noted  the  journey for the resettlement of the people started  more than 12 years  ago, thanked God for sustaining and keeping the people together.

Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, said the Federal Government was committed to finding a lasting solution to  Bakassi people’s problems.

He  advised the people to take a united position, saying the essence of the visit was to assess the  locations suggested by political leaders of the area as the appropriate place for the resettlement of the people.

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