Paramount Ruler of Bakassi and Chairman of Cross River Traditional Rulers Council, Etiyin Etim Edet, has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo ceded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon without making adequate plans for the proper resettlement of the people, thereby exposing them to untold suffering, which they are still facing 13 years after the handover.
Okon Edet, who spoke yesterday, in Calabar on the delay in the implementation of the 2013 report of the Presidential Committee on the Plight of the Displaced Bakassi People, called on the former president to remove the rope around his neck before God calls him because he assured the Bakassi people before handing over the territory, that they would be allowed to leave their ancestral home with all their institutions but were not given that opportunity when the place was finally handed over. To make matters worse, he said, the people are yet to be properly resettled in any other place.
He said: “Obasanjo, who is the main actor in the ceding of Bakassi, is still alive. He made a lot of promises to us prior to the ceding and we thought that he would fulfil them but he did not. He met with us severally at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, and he spoke to us passionately as the father of the nation which gave us the assurance that the government would do something reasonable for the people of Bakassi but up till now, we have seen nothing.
“He promised us that we would be allowed to go to any place of our choice with all our institutions, but uphill now, we have not been given that choice. Perhaps, he had some other intentions which were not known to us, that if he gave out Bakassi, those benefits would accrue to him but eventually none of those things came to fruition and he decided to dump us by the way side.”
According to the traditional ruler, “Former President Obasanjo must be regretting what he did to the people of Bakassi and since he is still politically active, should redeem his promises to the people.”
He said that claims by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission that the state had been given N36 billion as compensation for the ceding of Bakassi was mere propaganda since no evidence was shown on who actually collected the money on behalf of the state.