Senator disagrees with Ayade on legal option on Bakassi

Ben Ayade

Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial district, Gershom Bassey, has faulted Governor Ben Ayade and the people of Bakassi for adopting the legal options in tackling challenges facing the Bakassi people.

Governor Ayade had in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary and Special Assistant Media, Mr. Christian Ita, pressed for legal action, “following the loss of Bakassi, its oil wells and the general loss the state government suffered with the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002.

“The governor is even considering taking the Federal Government to court to the tune of over N3tr over the loss of Bakassi and its oil wells, because they did not follow any laid down procedure in international law in ceding Bakassi.”

Also, Counsel to Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), Mr. Ozinko Ozinko, threatened to sue the ICJ on behalf of the Bakassi people saying, “this will be the first matter that we will even be suing the ICJ.

“They are not sincere. There are lots of interests and politics that come to play at the international level. By the new evidence we got, it is clear that those judgments were obtained by fraud.”

But Senator Basssey in an interview with The Guardian, decried the condition of the internally displaced people of Bakassi at the Ikot Eyo Edem camp in Akpabuyo as “deplorable, degrading and subhuman; there is a need for a speedy resettlement plan to be in place for the IDPs.”

His words: “I believe the Federal Government treated the issue of Bakassi with levity when it failed to appeal the ICJ judgment within the 10 years window of appeal. Be that as it may, it is my thinking that we should seek for a political solution to the issue of Bakassi rather than legal solution.

“What Bakassi people needs now is a properly negotiated resettlement plan and not a prolonged legal battle that will still impoverish the people while it lasts.”

The Senator disclosed that the people whose natural source of livelihood was fishing are now being subjected to farming techniques in order to survive, adding that “these occupational change and adaptation is definite challenging to the Bakassi people.”

He said he sponsored a motion last month titled, “A call for the proper resettlement and compensation of the Bakassi people” urging the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, properly resettle the Bakassi people through a participatory and properly negotiated resettlement programme.

In this article:
Ben AyadeGershom Bassey
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