By Our Correspondent
Senator Florence Ita Giwa, a former Adviser to President Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters, has commended the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, for his position on the plight of the people of Bakassi as presented to the Country Representative of the United Nations, Dikongue Atangana, in his office in Calabar recently.
While receiving the UN Country Rep and her team who were on a courtesy visit to his office in Calabar, Governor Ayade to them that “We have a moral and emotional burden to express some concerns, fears, agony and pains we have encountered in the course of our struggle as a small nation state within the nation state of Nigeria. The people of Bakassi and the people of Cross River state are indeed pained and hurt by the way and manner that a part of us has been ceded out.
“Rightly put in the way and manner you (Angele Dikongue) earlier put it, we have reduced our people, the people of Bakassi to be near stateless people, a people whose heritage, a people whose lifestyle, a people whose original means of living has been completely taken, a people whose fundamental human rights have been trampled upon, a people who were never consulted either by referendum or plebiscite to ask where they choose to belong, a people whose faith was decided in the high tables of cities where they know not, whose course the world has altered, their spirit and soul cries.
“There is no amount of peanuts, no amount of food, no amount of shelter that you provide that will reverse the hurt. The right thing is to allow a man the fundamental right to choose whom he intends to associate with, where he belongs and how he chooses to live.
“If it were another part of the country that suffered the same fate, the country will go to war.
“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.”
Reacting to this development, Ita-Giwa, who has been at the forefront of the agitation for the resettlement of the Bakassi returnees, in a statement, expressed satisfaction that the state now has a governor who is sensitive and feels the pulse of her people.
According to the statement: “There is hunger in the refugee camp and over 80 per cent of the people are roaming the streets without shelter. There is no access to basic health care, no school for the children and now that the rain is here, their misery will increase.
“I am happy that my governor, Professor Ayade has taken up the issue of my people. This is a pointer to the fact that soon, my people shall be properly resettled. We have been deprived of our ancestral home.”
She encouraged Cross Riverians to support the governor in his bid to transform the fortunes of the state with his signature projects.
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