Cross River reassures of permanent resettlement for Bakassi returnees
The Director-General of the agency, Mr John Inaku, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Sunday.
NAN recalls that thousands of Bakassi returnees have been in temporary camps in the state since 2010, following Nigeria’s ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon the previous year.
The Federal Government and Cross River Government had promised to provide permanent resettlement centre for the returnees and rehabilitate them adequately.
Inaku, however, said that the returnees’ wish for a permanent resettlement in Dayspring Islands, where they could continue with their fishing, was not realizable now due to the current poor economic realities.
According to him, the Cross River Government has been giving succour to the returnees and plans to provide houses and alternative sources of livelihood for them.
“The issue of Bakassi returnees is not the sole responsibility of Cross River. It is a national issue as well as an international one.
“So far, it is Cross River that has been doing its best to provide materials, food, medicals and even education for these people.
“Again, you know how lean our resources are but the Gov. Ben Ayade-led administration has been able to make available some billions of Naira to cater for the internally displaced persons.
“Recently, the governor was with them and promised to build up the area through a social housing scheme in conjunction with a group from Dortmund, Germany.
“The UN high Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and CR-SEMA has to also build.
“With all these, we are going to have a lot. Already 30 hectares of land has been allotted to us.
“The Ministry of Lands has been deployed to mark up the area for a layout,’’ he said.
“Their request for relocation to Day Spring 1 and 2 Island is a possibility provided we have the resources to sand fill the area,’’ he added.