Bakassi Returnees Sue FG, Demand N30bn Compensation

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Bakassi children greeting an elder...what does the future hold for them?
Bakassi children greeting an elder…what does the future hold for them?

The returnees of Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State extraction in the Bakassi Peninsula now in Cameroun have instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Federal Government, asking for N30 billion in damages for alleged acts of betrayal leading to the loss of their ancestral home at the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun.

In a writ of summons and statement of claim filed by Ukeme Ekpenyong of Wole Abidakun law firm, the plaintiffs include Bassey Augustine Efiong, Silas Clement Etim, Efiong Bassey Ekanem and Imaobong Edem Efiong (suing for themselves and on behalf of Bakassi returnees of Uruan Local Government Area extraction).

Listed as 1st to 6th defendants respectively are the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Assembly, Cross Rivers State Government, Akwa Ibom State Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The plaintiffs are seeking against the defendants the following reliefs: a declaration that the defendants acted outrageously, recklessly, atrociously and unconscionably in their handling of the Bakassi Peninsula hand over issue.

• They also want the court to declare that the defendants betrayed the fiduciary relationship between them and the plaintiffs by not acting in the best interest of the plaintiffs vis-a-vis the handing over of Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroun.

• A declaration that the plaintiffs were vulnerable as far as the issue of the handing over of the Bakassi Peninsula by the 1st defendant (Federal Government) is concerned and the defendants took undue advantage of the plaintiffs’ vulnerability thereby recklessly inflicting severe emotional distress on the plaintiffs.

• A declaration that the failure of the 6th defendant (INEC) to register the plaintiffs in the voters register has deprived the them of their voting rights both in the April 2011 general election and the July 2012 local government elections.

The plaintiffs want the court to direct the 1st, 4th and 5th defendants (the Federal Government, Cross Rivers State Government and Akwa Ibom State Government respectively) to immediately provide basic amenities like schools, health centres, portable water, proper accommodation and means of transportation in the plaintiffs’ new settlements.

They want the court to make an order directing the 6th defendant (INEC) to immediately commence the registration of eligible voters in the plaintiffs’ new settlements.

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