Restructure now or we split, Bakassi people tell government
The people of Bakassi have said that they may split from Nigeria if the restructuring of the country that is expected to address their predicaments and other issues in the South-South are treated with kid gloves.
The Bakassi people, who spoke through their representative in the House of Representatives, Pastor Essien Ayi (Bakassi/Akpabuyo/Calabar South Federal Constituency) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said: “Now the people of Bakassi are there suffering and now the concentration is on the development of North-East.
“Everyday you wake up, you will hear herdsmen have killed and destroyed, Boko Haram have killed and abducted but they are putting up resources to build what the same Nigerians from the northern part of Nigeria have destroyed to the detriment of the people of Bakassi who never had a hand in their predicament and they say we are one Nigeria. How can we be one Nigeria? It is either we restructure or we take decision on how we will split.
“What is happening in Bakassi today is not as a result of the making of the people of Bakassi but as a result of the poor handling by the government and its team of lawyers at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). I sincerely believe that the issue was not handled properly.
Ayi, who spoke with some journalists after the interment of Mrs. Adeline Ndoma-Egba at the weekend in Akparaobong in Ikom Local Council of the state, said what annoys him and the people of Bakassi most is that “the country is very busy trying to rebuild the North-East. The devastation of the North-East has been the product of the so-called Boko Haram insurgents who are Nigerians and after Nigerians had destroyed Nigeria, the government is bent on rebuilding that area to the extent of setting up a North-East Development Commission. But the Bakassi that was ceded not because of the making of the people of Bakassi, government is not doing anything about it.”
The lawmaker, who represented the Speaker of the House at the burial, said “the only option left after doing a lot of research is for the creation of the Bakassi Development Commission.”
The leader of the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Bakassi returnees at Government Secondary School, Akwa Ikot Eyo Edem in Akpabuyo Local Council, Mr. Etim Okon Ene, who spoke in the same vein, said: “We are ready to fight for own independence or split if our leaders will support us because the Federal Government has abandoned us and Nigeria has failed us too.
“Anytime they call us out, we are ready. The African Nation Development Programme took over 2,000 hectres of our land with a promise to build 5,000 housing units and schools with hospitals yet nothing and our crops have been destroyed with no compensation.
“They took our oil wells, gave our territory to Cameroun, our people are dying every day, no food, no shelter, no work “but see what they are giving the people in North-East yet we have nothing. We believe enough is enough and the time has come for us to decide whether we belong to Nigeria or not.”
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