By Jonathan Ugbal
The ceding of Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been described as a sore point in the history of Nigeria as a country.
Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Ethiopia and member who represented Calabar Municipal/Odukpani federal constituency in the 7th Assembly, Nkoyo Toyo made this known in an interview with CrossRiverWatch where she commended governor Benedict Ayade for his stance on the issue.
Her words “It has always been my conviction that a right claimed and pursued vigorously cannot die no matter how long it will tarry. The issue of Bakassi remains a sore point in our national annals and cannot be wished away. I commend the position taken by His Excellency, Senator Ayade and pray that he joins hands with genuine agitators of Bakassi to legitimately reopen all outstanding issues including matters arising therefrom”.
Nkoyo who is a lawyer by profession and social activist for over 30 years also commended the former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters for her role in ensuring the issue of Bakassi is not forgotten.
“Our Efik Princess, Senator Florence Giwa has made this a lifelong agitation and it is time many more of us come on board given the encouragement from his Excellency (governor Ayade) and hope that we can actualize something from this miserable and dis-empowering experience foisted on our people” she said.
The Oxfam trustee who also founded the Gender and Development Action (GADA) in 1994, was among frontrunners calling on the federal government to appeal the ruling of the ICJ when the ten years appellation timeframe was yet to expire.
It will be recalled that CrossRiverWatch in a publication titled “Bakassi Not Yet A Settled Issue – Governor Ayade To United Nations” reported that governor Benedict Ayade while addressing a team led by the country representative, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Angele Dikongue when they paid him a courtesy call in his office in Calabar condemned the way and manner Bakassi and Cross River State was been treated adding that Cross Riverians were pained at the way a part of them was ceded and sent a strong message to the United Nations (UN).
The message read thus “The United Nations must hear it loud and clear that it is an unsettled issue as there is no amount of dollars that can settle this and at the fullness of time, when the state is through with her economic challenges, they (Bakassi) will be back on the table, they will be back before the UN to ask for a plebiscite, they will be back before the UN to ask for what is fair and right; that the people of Bakassi have a right to choose where they want to live”.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Benedict Ayade are currently in Yaounde, Cameroun with speculations that the Bakassi peninsula issue is a priority in the list of discussions.
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