by crossriverwatch admin
The representative of the Cross River South Senatorial District, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw has said that the people of Bakassi have lost confidence in the Attorney General of the Federation to look after and protect their interest.
Senator Henshaw whose senatorial district includes the disputed Bakassi Peninsula made this declaration today at a one day national dialogue on Bakassi at the Lagos Airport Hotel.
“let me inform us that the effort to resettle Bakassi people has been a complete failure. You don’t go and build a hundred houses and pretend that you can use that to settle tens of thousands of displaced people. And up till today, our government has not one day sent people to Bakassi to see wht is happening to Nigerian. The Attorney General disregarded the President’s directive to file an appeal for the review of the ICJ judgment with impunity saying there was no time and that should Nigeria appealed, it will damage the international image of the country. The Attorney General needs to explain to Nigerians how compliance with the rule of law will be tantamount to reneging on our international obligations and commitments. But the question is; does compliance with the rule of law detract from the image of the person complying”?
“The government also said they were no new facts to take to the Hague. But the Bakassi Support Group had proven that all the talk about lace of information by the government is not true. We supported this position with fresh facts that were communicated to government yet the Attorney General against the directive of the President, decided to shelve the appeal for a review. By this action, the Bakassi people have lost confidence in the Attorney General to look after and protect their interest”.
Chairman of the dialogue Prof. Bola Akinterinwa who stood in for Prof. Ben Nwabueze said : “the subject matter is not the ceding but the fate of the people of Bakassi. Their right to live where they want to live. The ICJ, GTA on paper says that Cameroon has sovereignty over Bakassi. Meaning the Cameroonian government has authority over the people and territory. But the first issue arising from this is that the Bakassi people are saying, irrespective of the ICJ ruling, our grandfathers owned this land. We are Nigerians and we want to remain Nigerians. The ICJ says the territory is ceded, not the people”.
Convener of the dialogue and leader of the National Consensus Group, Mr. Wale Okuniyi in his remark said:
“The Bakassi matter is no longer for Bakassi people alone. We have to nationalize the struggle. We have come to a point were it is the people themselves that must lead the discussion on Bakassi. Government has been talking to us for too long about what they want to do for us. Now we must begin to set the agenda with particular reference to Bakassi. Today it is Bakassi, tomorrow, it might be somewhere else”.
In her intervention, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo representing Odukpani Federal Constituency pointed out that “the Attorney General’s views on this matter are tainted. He can step aside and allow another person to take over”
Hon. Nkoyo who is also Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Ethiopia reminded the audience that beyond the question of the ceding, they are also issues of compensation for the Bakassi people for the over one hundred years of exploitation. she insisted that the people of Bakassi must be paid compensation for all the injustices that have been meted out to them.
She said, “with brazen impunity even in the face of the raging controversy, the federal government ordered the boundary commission to begin the re-delineation of the Nigeria – Cameroonian maritime boundary. She said until Nigeria sits and listen to the affected people, the boundary commission cannot go ahead with the demarcation of the maritime boundary. Until the constitutional issues surrounding Bakassi are addressed, the government should not go ahead with the demarcation of the maritime boundary. Why has the Green Tree Agreement failed? We need to talk to the resident to know how thy want to be resettled”.
Leader of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima called on the federal government to recognize the right of the people of Bakassi to self determination. He queried why government will want to continue to hold a people down when that same government has sold the people out.
Col. Tony Inyam who was at the occasion also called on the other ethnic nationalities to join hands with the people of Bakassi and Cross River State to redress the ceding.
The event was well attended by the media, civil society and self-determination activists, leaders of ethnic nationalities and opinion leaders from across the country including Mr. Debo Adeniran, Comrade Joseph Eva, High Chief Minika James, Baba Omojola, Bar. Malachy Ugwumadu, Comrade Mrs. Fatimah Abdulkareem amongst others.
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