The Bakassi Peoples General Assembly has dissociated itself from the purported declaration of independence by a group in the territory, saying that the issue affecting the area would not be solved by the declaration of Independence but by relocating the residents to a permanent abode.
Addressing journalists in Lagos Friday, the leader of the group, Florence Ita-Giwa said the people of Bakassi have no intention to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria but want the resettlement of its people to be accelerated.
Ita-Giwa said that six years after former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo promised a painless relocation and resettlement, "the situation with the people is sickening and sad as the promise has turned out to be their worst experience because the people are being subjected to modern day slavery in their own country."
"As we speak to you now, 10 years after the ceding of our homeland to Cameroon by ICJ and six years after the exodus of our people from our homeland, no Bakassi indigene has been properly resettled at the place of our choice.
"The Bakassi people are now roaming the streets of Calabar wallowing in abject poverty and in complete penury. Anything left of our dignity has been completely shattered. What was promised as the relocation of our traditional, political, social and economic institution intact has resulted in a complete reversal of our destiny," she said.
While dissociating itself from the independence declaration made by a group in the area, the former Special Adviser to President Obasanjo described the group as faceless, and not serving the interest of the people.
While condemning the "systematic marginalisation of Bakassi people," the group demanded the urgent development of unceded parts of Bakassi known as Day Springs Island 1 and 2 that will comprehensively accommodate resettlement of Bakassi indigenes.
"We make a legitimate demand on the federal government to initiate a programme of Accelerated Human Capacity Development of the people of
Bakassi, especially the youth in the same way the federal government has treated ex-militants in the amnesty programme," it added.
On the current press war between Cross River and Akwa-Ibom states over oil wells, the group described the scenario as embarrassing and appealed to both states to sheathe their swords.
"We implore the leadership of both states to be mindful of their ancestral and historical links and should look for ways of reaching amicable settlement that will be mutually beneficial to each other for the sake of generations to come," she added.