Edet, who described Obasanjo as a “main actor” in the ceding of the area to Cameroon expressed disappointment at the way the former president abandoned them after promises of a proper resettlement in an area of their choice.
Bakassi would hang on Obasanjo’s neck, says Paramount Ruler
Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, HRM Etinyin (Dr) Etim Okon Edet, yesterday said the issue of Bakassi would continue to hang on the neck of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, until the people are properly resettled.
The monarch lamented that since the October 10, 2002 judgment that ceded the area, nothing has been done for the people who were displaced and called for urgent action towards a proper resettlement of the people.
“Obasanjo made promises to us. We thought that he would be sincere. The way he met with us severally at the villa. I was a regular visitor at the villa. The way he talked to us as the father of the nation. The way he spoke with me personally, I was very sure that the Nigerian nation was going to do something.
“He promised us that we are going to leave to anywhere we are going to go, anywhere of our choice with all our institutions intact. We were never given that choice. Until now we have not been given that choice. He is still alive. He should also say something whether it was good for him as president to have ceded the area and told us to vacate the area without provision of anything. The Bakassi issue would be hanging on his neck and I think he should get it off his neck before God calls him. He never fulfilled any of those things.
“We are sure God will come by in this matter. We would not go to war, but the tears of the people would go to God. Those of them who have done us this harm, God will fight this fight, unless they go back and do what the promised they will do. My hope is on God and the Nigerian nation,” Edet said.
Edet also wondered why the report of the Presidential Committee on a proper resettlement set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan, has not been implemented.
“The Committee submitted their report on 23rd May, 2013 with strong recommendation as contained in that report. Four years after the submission of the report to the Federal Government, nothing has been heard about it. What offence did we commit?
“Our present situation as a people is highly pathetic and worrisome as it is very painful for one to forgo his or her ancestral home and in such circumstances as we have found ourselves. We were hopeful that the Federal Government would implement the recommendations of the Committee and end the matter in our collective interest.
“Before the ceding of Bakassi, there were four built-up secondary schools (one of which was built by the NDDC with staff quarters) and all were fully equipped. There were also over 42 primary schools and two secondary schools, a comprehensive health clinic and over 10 health centres and an ambulance boat. What then have become the fate of these helpless youths, pregnant women, elderly people and children who have now been displaced forgotten and denied access to sound education and healthcare through no fault of their own? Do we think the increased rate of militancy and sea-piracy in the Bakassi area and by extension the Gulf of Guinea in the near future?
“Please not that the October 10, 2002 ICJ judgment affected the maritime boundary of Bakassi and the land boundary of the Lake Chad region of Adamawa, Borno, Taraba etc. In the land area, the Federal Government had resettled the people. Why is the Bakassi resettlement dragging?” Edet questioned.
Among the recommendations of the Presidential Committee was that the primary focus of the Government should be relocate the people to an environment where they can live comfortably and practice their profession.
Others were that the relevant agencies of the Federal, State Governments and the people must be involved in the physical planning and development of infrastructure in the area i.e. Dayspring 1, Dayspring 2 and Kwa Islands and a blueprint of necessary infrastructure be provided with required costing by organs of governemnt.
The Committee also recommended the establishment of a N100billion Special Fund for Bakassi development to be driven the community and monies realized and or allocated to the Fund be utilized for education, job creation activities, long term infrastructural development, business enterprise development, and enhancement of tourism for the people.