Our Leaders Have Been Hijacking Relief Materials –Bakassi Returnees

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By CrossRiverWatch Admin

Some returnees from the ceded Bakassi Peninsula have lamented that their leaders have been hijacking relief materials meant for them.

The returnees, who are resident at the Bakassi Resettlement Camp at Ekpri-Ikang in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State, also insist there are no other camps for the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons apart from theirs.

But their claims run contrary to facts available as there are over 3, 000 other Bakassi returnees who are camped at Akwa-Ikot-Edem Primary School and Government Secondary School in Akwa-Ikot-Eyo-Edem in Akpabuyo LGA of the state.

On June 3, a former Presidential Adviser, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, led a team of security agents to recover multi million naira relief materials in a private residence in Calabar.

The relief materials, which included several bundles of zinc, bags of cement, assorted woods, among others were given by the National Commission for Refugees to the returnees in response to a fire outbreak in Day Spring Island which destroyed makeshift houses.

In a twist, however, the Village Head of Ine-Utan-Akpa-Edok community, Chief Ernest Asuquo, alleged that there was no fire outbreak in Day Spring Island.

He said that as a village head, he never heard of any fire disaster that destroyed houses in his domain.

Asuquo said, “I learnt that there was fire disaster at Day Spring Island and Ata-Ema which destroyed houses, but I can tell you that it never happened. As the village head, I am not aware of it.”

Also, the Secretary of the Ekpri-Ikang Refugee Camp which has 300 housing units built by the Federal Government, Mr. Linus Essien, said relief materials meant for the returnees had constantly been hijacked by their leaders.

“Recently, we got a call that the National Commission for Refugees would be sending relief materials through the State Emergency Management Agency but we did not get anything. Our leaders have been hijacking the relief materials meant for us,” he said.

The Camp Leader, Mr. Moses Asuquo, said there are no other camps for the returnees outside the Ekpri-Ikang IDP Camp for Bakassi returnees.

He alleged that the camps in Akpabuyo LGA were occupied by fake returnees.

But denying the claims that there was no fire disaster, Clan Head of Ata-Ema community, Chief Etim Okon-Asuquo, said that there was fire outbreak which destroyed make shift houses in the creeks of his community.

He, however, noted with sadness that those affected had yet to get any relief materials after he had personally acknowledge the receipt of materials sent by the NCR through SEMA.

“There was fire disaster that consumed houses in the creeks of Ata-Ema and Day Spring. I was among those who went to receive the relief materials at SEMA in Calabar. But since we left SEMA that day, I have not seen anything.

“Nobody has come to tell me anything. It is really sad. It is a show of shame and it means people do not have any regard for people. I am not just a community leader; I am a clan head in charge of the whole clans in Ata-Ema. The people responsible for this should be brought to book so that we put an end to this thing,” he lamented.

Culled from PUNCH.

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