by crossriverwatch admin
The All Cross River Youth Forum, ACRIYOF, a pressure group in Cross River State has commended President Jonathan for conceding to the age long demand for a national confab and praised his courage for not reserving any ‘no-go-area’ in the conference committee inauguration address.
Rising from a meeting yesterday at Jorany Hotel, Calabar, the group said the confab will afford the youths in Cross River State a veritable opportunity to reopen the Bakassi question and ask the rest of Nigeria whether it was right to annex a people’s homeland without their consent.
In a communiqué signed by the coordinator, Barrister James Ibor, which was released to the media, the group also accused the Comptroller General of Customs, Mohammed Dikko of orchestrating a calculated attempt to further cripple the economy of Cross River state by strangulating investments in the Calabar Free Trade Zone.
The communiqué further called on the Cross River State House of Assembly to immediately commence a process of re-jigging the Bakassi imbroglio as a matter of urgent public importance.
Part of the communiqué reads: “That we the youths of Cross River State under the umbrella of the All Cross River Youth Forum, ACRIYOF having deliberated extensively on the prevailing circumstances and the future of our state; are resolved that:
i. We commend and support the decision of President Jonathan to accede to the long standing demand for a national confab to discuss our terms of intercourse as a nation.
ii. We see the national confab as a veritable opportunity to reopen the Bakassi question and ask the rest of Nigeria whether it was proper for anyone to sign away the homeland of the people of Bakassi without their consent and an acceptable resettlement plan.
iii. That the Federal Government should call the Comptroller General of Customs to order and stop the calculated attempt to cripple the Tinapa Free Trade Zone and consequently threaten the employment of over 20,000 Cross Riverians.
iv. That the Federal Government should expedite action on the dredging of the Calabar Wharf as that will allow bigger ships to berth at the wharf, increase commercial activities at the wharf and expand opportunities for youths from the state.
v. That the federal government should also expedite action on the pending formalities by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA to enable the resumption of direct flights into the Bebi Airstrip.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, the coordinator of the group Bar. James Ibor said “We have been too docile in this state. We are now being taken for granted by the rest of Nigeria and the fortunes of the State continue to dwindle on a daily basis. But now we see the need to come under one umbrella to see how we can push the case of Cross River State.
“The Bakassi imbroglio is a very painful chapter in the history of Cross River State and we see the conference as an opportunity we must not miss. We want the rest of Nigeria to reason with us and see how the fate of our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers who have been rendered homeless in their homeland in Bakassi can be redressed.”
Mr. Agba Jalingo, Editor-In-Chief of CrossRiverWatch who was also at the meeting told our reporter that: “For me this is a very critical moment in Cross River State. Our political class in the State needs to be supported and given another layer of negotiation by the youths in the national political theatre. I am particularly impressed with Barrister Ibor and the entire young people who gathered in this meeting today. More importantly is the fact the no politician is behind this initiative. It is an independent initiative of clear headed young people who are simply saying that they are no longer going to watch the state continue to suffer without intervention.
“We watched how the Bakassi matter turned to politics to the detriment of the welfare and security of the people who till today have become refugees in their homeland. Our political class failed us. They preferred to secure their positions by aligning with Abuja and today the indigenes of Bakassi have become guinea pigs in international politics.
“But the national confab affords us another opportunity to draw the attention of the rest of the country to this wickedness that was perpetrated by Obasanjo against Cross Rive State. We as young people from Cross River State are wondering whether if Bakassi were Owu land where General Obasanjo hails from, would he have signed it out to another country? If Bakassi was a territory of any of the ethnic majorities in Nigeria, would it have been dashed out in the manner they did? But someone thought it was a micro minority territory and there was no qualms ceding it away.
“We are ready to challenge that decision at the national confab and we expect the rest of Nigeria to reason with us. We do not want to resort to violence which has become the tool with which to get quick government attention and intervention in Nigeria. We still want to exhaust all avenues for a peaceful resolution of the impasse in the hope that our countrymen will see reason with Cross River State. But to think that Bakassi will be given away forever without any resistance of any manner from Cross River Youths is like thinking a snake will not strike when it is stepped on”.
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