16 March 2017

Nigeria: Again, Ayade Weeps for Bakassi Returnees As Govt Unveils Resettlement Plans

For the second time in less than four months, Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, was in tears Wednesday over the excruciating condition of the displaced people of Bakassi.

Ayade, who succumbed to emotions while speaking during a courtesy call on him by the National Commissioner, Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced persons (IDPs), Hajia Sadiya Umar Farauk, said no human being deserves to live under the conditions that obtains at the IDPs camp in Bakassi.

He said the people were left exasperated as they watched the federal government and the international community scramble to mitigate the hardships of IDPs elsewhere with no one looking their way.

According to him, "the pain the Bakassi people have gone through is totally unacceptable in modern society. As we watch several multinationals and countries fall over themselves to provide relief items to other IDPs' centers, I watched my own people of Bakassi daily in pains, agony, and totally reduced to wants in body and spirit and above all, completely dislocated from their ancestral homes.

"As I watch them scratch their skin in pains, as I see the difficulty for them to access water coupled with the loss of their main source of livelihood, let me say that until there is a psychological and emotional redemption, the people will know no peace."

While recalling the circumstances that led to the displacement of the people, the governor pointed out that "government that takes its people off their ancestral homes by virtue of an International court of justice that has not been domesticated and therefore illegal in spirit and in truth is unfit to be."

Regretting the living condition of the displaced persons Ayade said, "I insist that you go with me to their camp and see the living condition of human beings like us, I'm sure you will be more determined to offer psychological succor above anything material."

Ayade his utmost trust for President Muhamadu Buhari whom he described as a true Nigerian without any form of bias particularly on issues that concerns the state.

He said he was certain that the PresidentWill look into the matter.

Earlier, Hajia Farauk announced plans by the federal government to permanently resettle the Bakassi returnees.

This is coming barely one month after the state government in partnership with the Africa Nations Development Programmes(ANDP) performed groundbreaking for the construction of 5,000 units of houses for the returnees in Ikpa Nkanya, Akpabuyo Local Government Area.

In her words, "Let me thank the government and good people of Cross River State for their warm and kind hospitality so far shown to the IDPs and to assure you that plans are in earnest to ensure that the displaced people of Bakassi are resettled as soon as possible in their home community."

She further disclosed that, "the government is working assiduously to tackle all issues of statelessness and displacement of the citizenry across board," pointing out that, "the people of Bakassi have proved their link with Nigeria, therefore we shall not allow them to become stateless in this country because we are duty bounds to look after them."

The commissioner disclosed that "The distribution of food and non-food items is symbolic because it will give the people a sense of belonging as well as enhance the national response as statutorily demanded of the commission.

While commending Ayade for his exemplary leadership when he recently celebrated his 49th birthday with the displaced people of Bakassi at their camp, she explained that the act was a show of high level of commitment, love and a demonstration of the fact that the governor was so much in touch with his people.

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