Member representing Calabar South-Akpabuyo and Bakassi federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Essien Ayi, on Sunday said the Federal Government was not serious about resettling the displaced people of Bakassi.
The lawmaker noted particularly that no allocation was set aside for Bakassi people in the 2013 budget.
The Federal Government had last December 13, set up a committee to find a lasting solution to the plight of displaced people of Bakassi.
The committee, which is under the chairmanship of the acting governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, is to look into the modalities for the resettlement process.
But Ayi, who spoke with reporters in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, said, “Government is not serious about resettling the displaced Bakassi people. It is the third in the last six years. There had been no budget for the resettlement over the years and not even in the 2013 budget.
“In the 2013 budget, no single money was set aside for the displaced Bakassi people, whereas they are talking about resettlement. Where will the money come from?”
On the decision reached at a town hall meeting convened by a former Special Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matter, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, where the Bakassi people said they would wish to be resettled in Day Spring Island, Ayi insisted that it was deceit.
He said some funds allegedly released for that purpose in the past ended up in the pockets of individuals.
The lawmaker added, “Let no person deceive anybody. People are using the displaced indigenes as an avenue to make money, this is not the best thing to do. The only option left is referendum so that the people can decide for themselves.
“At the town hall meeting they were talking about Day Spring Island, let no one be deceived. There will still be argument over that settlement because the owners have vowed to resist it.”
He pointed out that referendum on such contentious issue of this nature had been carried out in Southern Sudan, South Africa and so many other countries where the people willingly decided where they wished to belong.