By Jonathan Ugbal
The member representing Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar South federal constituency in the national assembly, Honorable Essien Ayi has blamed former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo for the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula.
Mr. Ayi made the accusation on a breakfast radio show on Hit 95.9 FM Calabar which was monitored by CrossRiverWatch where he also slammed the federal government for focusing only on the north east region devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency to the detriment of the Bakassi people.
He said Mr. Obasanjo had called for the stalling of his motion in 2014 in order to please President Paul Biya of Cameroon whom he said will lose elections in 2015 if he lost the Bakassi peninsula to Nigeria.
“Right from 2004, I first moved a motion stopping the ceding of Bakassi, it was overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives.
“The motion raised so much heat to the extent that the then President Olusegun Obasanjo sent the then speaker who is now governor of Katsina state, Aminu Bello Maisari and ask him that, told him that this motion was generating a lot of international attention,” Ayi said.
He continued: “(President Obasanjo) said that he has a pact with the government of Cameroon, that President Biya said that because of his election in 2015, we should slow down so that if he cedes Bakassi now, it may affect his election, that we should slow down and after the elections, he will hand Bakassi to us.
“He (Obasanjo) went to the UN (United Nations) and demanded the handing over of Bakassi to Cameroon.
“The then President went to the UN with the former Governor Donald Duke, Senator Giwa who was then Special Adviser to the President on national assembly and handed over Bakassi to Cameroon at the UN.”
Mr. Ayi also blamed the federal government for the sufferings of the Bakassi indigenes whom he said did not cause their suffering as it was the making of the government.
“I don’t know what the Federal Government is doing because the federal government is not doing anything on the plight of Cross Riverians.
“All their concentration is on how to rebuild the North East. They have even come out with a North East Development Commission whose plight is caused by the same Nigerians in the name of Boko Haram to the detriment of Bakassi people.
“Meanwhile the people of Bakassi did not cause the ceding, it was the federal government.
“It was the then President Obasanjo who attended the ICJ (International Court of Justice) ruling and he was been taken there by the Cameroonian government and he went and participated wrongly as he looked for lawyers whose interest was how much they could get from government rather than how much they could protect the people of Bakassi. He caused all what you are seeing today in Bakassi local government,” Ayi said.
He maintained that the issue of resettlement is strictly that of the executive arm of government as there is nothing a legislator can do.
Also, the fourth term legislator averred that despite the leaders of the Bakassi people shifting grounds from supporting the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, the plight of the returnees has not improved and maintained that: “All what they are trying to do is for their own selfish gain, not for the people of Bakassi.”
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