Bakassi returnees seek stipends, amenities
BAKASSI returnees, currently camped at St. Mark’s Primary/Secondary School, Akwa Ikot Eyo Edem in Bakassi Local Council of Cross River State, have called on the federal and state governments to provide them with quality medical care, affordable primary and secondary school education, employment and regular electricity.
They are also pleading for the payment of N5,000 state conditional cash transfer to each of them, especially the aged.
The camp leader, Etim Okon-Ene who made the appeal yesterday in Calabar, said the facility which has no fewer than 3,720 internally displaced persons (IDPs) lacked the basic amenities to make life worth living.
He recalled that the returnees were relocated to the camp in 2013 after the ceding of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun on August 4, 2008.
“We are requesting for medicare and education for our wives and children, continuous feeding and adequate power supply. We are exposed to all sorts of diseases because we have no functional medical service in the camp.
“We also plead for the payment of N5,000 state conditional cash transfer to each of the displaced persons especially the aged,” he stated.
Okon-Ene said they also need agricultural inputs to enable the returnees cultivate the land recently acquired for them by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) at Ikpa Nkanya.
According to him: “We are a fishing community. We do not want to be fed with fish. We want to be taught how to fish so that we can sustain ourselves. We need engine boats and fish processing facilities to help us earn some money.
“We are hardworking people and will excel given the right opportunities. Our needs are modest and meeting these needs will end the suffering of the Bakassi people,” he urged.
While thanking Senator Florence Ita-Giwa for being caring to them all this while, the camp leader, however, appealed to Governor Ben Ayade to fulfill the campaign promise he made to them to build a Fabrication Academy to train and transform the youths.