by crossriverwatch admin
Over One Thousand Bakassi returnees taking refuge at the Ikot Eyo-Edem in Akpabuyo local government area of Cross River State are living in palpable fear following the withdrawal of security personnel and medical team in the camp.
A source at the camp told crossriverwatch that “the recent withdrawal of the security operatives policing the camp on the orders of the Bakassi local government Chairman, Dr Ekpo-Ekpo Bassey following the refusal of the returnees to concede to his attempt to forcefully move the returnees to Ekpri Ikang”.
Trouble started between the chairman and the returnees when about a fortnight ago he went with security men to the refugee camp to relocate the returnees to Bakassi Housing Estate camp at Ekpri Ikang on the ground that Ikot Eyo Edem where the refugees are presently camped is not in Bakassi local government and that the camp is a primary school to train the village children in western education, a request the returnees unanimously rejected citing their experience at the Bakassi camp in 2010 when the returnees had the same problem.
Speaking with crosriverwatch at the refugee camp, the leader of the returnees, Etim Okon Ene accused the Chairman of Bakassi local government area, Dr Ekpo-Ekpo Bassey of withdrawing the security operatives as well as medical personnel and other social service providers at the camp because of their refusal to move to Ekpri Ikang where the chairman wanted.
“The chairman masterminded the withdrawal of the security here at the camp because we rejected to be moved due to our past bitter experience at Ekpri Ikang during the 2010 refugee Camp when the villagers and ex-militants living in the camp raped our women and disposed us of our belongings.
“The village we stay presently here even though is Akpabuyo is safe and secured for us because the people are peaceful and we men support them at night by volunteering to join the night guard that watch over our women and children”.
“How can the chairman say we are in Akpabuyo? Are we not Nigerians? Is Akpabuyo not in Nigeria? Were we not kept in primary school at Ikang in 2008 before the final ceding? If Fulanis from Taraba can be refugees in Obanlikwu in Cross River, why can’t we citizens of Nigeria and indigenes of Cross River state seek abode in Cross River”
“We know his antics, he want to use us for his re-election and we have seen that from afar that is why he is bent to move the returnees at all cost. As I’m speaking with you now we are exposed to danger, danger of water, health care and security, we don’t even have water to drink because he has stopped everything coming here, he should treat us like citizens who have right and not as politicians because we are non political” Ene said.
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