This Day (Lagos)

West Africa: Bakassi: Lives More Important Than Oil, Gas - Senator

Abuja — "The value of lives of Nigerians in the Bakassi Peninsula and beyond far out-weighs the worth of oil and gas deposit in the area. Nigerians should therefore explore every possible means towards resolving the problem created by the International Court of Justice verdict, which ceded the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun."

Senate Chief Whip and former Chairman of the senate committee on Natural Gas, Senator Adawari Michael Pepple who said this while speaking to newsmen after the presentation of "Senator Adawari Pepple's Cup" for secondary Schools Debate on Environment in Abuja added "by 2008, there would have been full utilisation and monetisation, I believe gas will take the foremost position."

Pepple waved aside the view that the Bakassi Peninsula dispute was all about oil and gas and argued that it is "more of a question of Nigeria losing her own land and Nigerians being unjustly cut out and placed where they don't belong traditionally and politically."

Pepple reiterated, "I don't think it is a question of going to war for oil and gas. Otherwise, we would not have thought of questioning the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It is more of lives of Nigerians. People who are emotionally attached to the area called Bakassi, people who were born there, who come from that place.

"It is most unfair if you have to relocate people at this time. I mean where are you relocating them. You cannot place a price tag on somebody's affinity to his homeland," Pepple decried.

He maintained that Nigerians are not complaining because of the issue of oil and gas. "Afterall some people are questioning what the country has so far done with her oil money."

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