Over three thousand displaced people of Bakassi have called on President Muhammed Buhari-Led Federal Government to take over the running of their temporary camp from Cross River state government as it did for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps for Boko Haram victims in Borno and Adamawa states, North East Nigeria.
The Bakassi returnees are currently camped at St Mark Primary School and Government Secondary School kot-Eyo-Edem in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state.
The returnees were sacked by the cameroonian gerndermes in 2013 from their ancestral home of Efut Obot Ikot community and they had been under the care of the Cross River State Government since then.
Speaking on their living condition, leader of the returnees, Etim Ene-Okon, called on President Buhari-led Federal Government to take over the running of the camp as was done to the internally displaced victims of Boko Haram in Borno and Adamawa States.
“We are suffering and from the look of things, the state can no longer manage the camp,the Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA),Vincent Aqua told us this.
“At present, we lack proper feeding and other facilities at the moment. Our children need to be educated, we need empowerment and employment. The Cross River State Government can no longer manage this situation,” he said.
“Our suffering started shortly after the final ceding of the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.
“They sacked us from the place in a manner that was inhuman, the Green Tree Agreement provided for us our choice of stay, either we remained in Cameroon or returned to Nigeria.
“But immediately after the terminal date of the window of the appeal provided for by the International Court of Justice expired in October 2012, the Cameroonian authorities sacked all of us in early 2013, even some of us were killed while others were jailed.
“Since 2013, we have been refugees in our land, living in the primary school here. More worrisome are our aged mothers and small children.
“Since September 2014, the Cross River State Government stopped sending relief materials to this camp due to financial problems,” he said.
Responding to their plight, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, said the state government will do its best to alleviate their sufferings by training some of them on building technology.
Ayade pointed out that the plight of the displaced people of Bakassi was the responsibility of the Federal Government.
“It is my responsibility as a governor to provide housing for all, but take note that the Bakassi issue is the duty of the Federal Government.
“We are going to take their case to the Federal Government to be reviewed and revisited and if you ask me this question few months from now the story will be different.
“Because I will not wait for the Federal Government before taking my action, by the time the Federal Government sees my action and result, definitely, President Buhari will respond to help this people,” he said.