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Group tasks FG on reparation to Cross River for loss of Bakassi, others

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Cross River South Senatorial District Assembly (CRSSDA) has demanded reparation and national recognition for the neglect of Calabar as the first capital of Nigeria.

It also demanded compensation from the Federal Government for loss of Bakassi peninsula at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to Cameroun and loss of its oil producing status, among others.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, CRSSDA demanded rebuilding of Calabar that once hosted the colonial masters and its protectorate over 100 years ago, immediate expansion and rehabilitation of the Calabar-Itu highway and face lift of the Marina water front that leads international vessels to Calabar Port, among others.

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The group’s Chief of Party, John Offiong, therefore, urged the Federal Government to invest in the state and give it national reckoning as the first capital city of the country.

He said the Federal Government should prioritise the Calabar-Itu road, as it was the only exit route for the export of natural and mineral resources, such as limestone and several others.

He said being the most viable tourism destination in the country, Cross River State, especially Calabar, should be supported in its tourism drive, while calling for local government autonomy for speedy growth and development at the grassroots.

Offiong said the group was ready to project the interest of the people of the Cross River South Senatorial District, its socio-economic development and that of the entire state, but it would remain nonpartisan.

“We do not enjoy the backing of any political party, but top politicians in Rivers State and other parts of the country should steer clear of Cross River politics, as there are strong indications that such persons were planning to hijack the state in 2023.

“We have a responsibility to first ensure that the South Senatorial District and the state remain united to speak with one voice and make a decisive statement towards the projection of the Cross River South Agenda in 2023,” he maintained.

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Another member of CRSSDA, Joseph Edem said the group was in support of anything that would engender growth and development in the state.

“Whether it was political or otherwise, we deserve good compensation on the Bakassi issue. We cannot monetise everything, but the Federal Government should develop human capital and infrastructure in the state,” he said.

On reparation, he said there were laid down procedures to deal with the issue of reparation, adding: “We need to have a stakeholders’ engagement where we bring everybody on the table and advance that discussion. It is not totally within our purview to run with that now, but we can actually advance the argument and take to a logical conclusion.”

On his part, Pioneer Leader of Calabar South Legislative Council and founding member of the group, Bassey Edem, said: “We deserve a voice in the scheme of things. We want to focus on our mission and vision to be a collective voice, effective advocacy for promoting fundamental rights, socio-economic development and good governance for the people of Cross River South Senatorial District.”

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CRSSDAJohn Offiong
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