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Ayade pays N200m compensations to Bakassi indigenes for deep seaport

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar
15 October 2019   |   4:16 am
After four years of site cleaning and dredging, the Cross River State Government has announced payment of N200m as compensation to Bakassi indigenes.

Ben Ayade

After four years of site cleaning and dredging, the Cross River State Government has announced payment of N200m as compensation to Bakassi indigenes.

The money was paid for the donation of 35,000 hectares of land towards the development of the Deep Seaport, which construction is expected to gulp about $200b.

Governor Ben Ayade announced the compensation yesterday at a stakeholders meeting in Calabar, with leaders and traditional rulers of the area led by the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet.

“We as parties have come together to say we will support the people of Bakassi Council Area with N200m for donating 35,000 hectares of land for the development of the Bakassi Deep Seaport.

“While we appreciate that the ultimate beneficiary of the port is Bakassi Council Area, it is noteworthy to state that it is for the good of the nation and Africa. The N200m is not value for the land, but a token as compensation.”

Recalling that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2015 promised during his campaign to Cross River that he would not only deal with the loss of the state oil wells, but will find a solution for the Bakassi people if he assumes office as President, Ayade appealed to the President to fulfill his commitment.

“We look on to President Buhari to as a matter of national urgency, grant a special sovereign guarantee to support us as we move to the final business of getting a core concessionaire who will start the investment on the development of the port.

“Without a sovereign guarantee, we will have to stretch our intellectual money to its limit. We believe that President Buhari understands the plight of the Bakassi people, the security and strategic importance of the Bakassi Deep Seaport, the need to have an alternative evacuation corridor and a maritime domain from Nigeria.

“We also believe that he understands the sensibilities and challenges that have bedeviled Lagos in the last six months and the urgency and need for an alternative Port,” he added.

Speaking earlier, Edet noted, “The land is all yours, it is for the Deep Seaport project. We have given the land and so all we need is Federal Government’s assistance to enable the project come to fruition. Our people are all here.”

Commending the Federal Government through the Ministry of Transportation for approving the outline business case (OBC), Edet who is also the chairman, Cross River Traditional Rulers Council said: “We hope that the project will start in earnest to make not only Cross River proud, but the entire nation and Africa.

“Bakassi was forcefully ceded, we were driven from our ancestral land and nobody asked us anything and we left. How much more a project of this nature? And now that the governor is looking for land to construct a deep seaport, why can’t we support it?