The Chairman of the Bakassi Local Government Council in Cross River, Amboni Iyadim, appealed on Friday to President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the voices of the displaced people from Bakassi and relocate them permanently.
Iyadim called for the inauguration of the executive members of the council in Ikot Effiom, the headquarters of the Bakassi Local Government Area.
The head of the council lamented that 13 years after the Bakassi peninsula was ceded to the neighboring Republic of Cameroon, the aborigines had been traumatized psychologically, physically and emotionally.
He noted that previous efforts by the federal and state governments to resettle the population had not gone far enough.
“It’s like nothing really happened because people are still traumatized. Therefore, it is not necessary to guarantee that displaced persons are permanently resettled.
“We lost our territory to Cameroon and then we lost our coastline status, resulting in the loss of 76 oil wells by the state to Akwa Ibom and now we are left in need, crying like babies in the midst of plenty.
“What have we done wrong that the Federal Government has decided to abandon us?
“It is time for us to drum this carelessness and abandonment louder so that they listen to us and come to rescue us because the situation here in the camp that they created for us is deteriorating day by day.”
Iyad argued that the different camps created by the government were not intended for permanent housing, noting that there was an urgent need for permanent resettlement.
“I appeal to the father of our nation, our caring and passionate President Muhammadu Buhari, to give the Bakassi issue a special place on his development agenda, ensuring that we are permanently settled and that compensation is properly paid in perpetuity.
“We did not leave Bakassi for any reason on our own. It was transferred in the national interest.
“However, the hardships caused by the handover now fall on us and our innocent children and we need our president to resolve this matter once and for all by ensuring that we are given our place of honor in Nigeria.”
The council chairman, however, praised Governor Ben Ayade for building a 52-unit housing development in Ifiang Ayong for displaced people from Bakassi.
He also expressed appreciation to the immediate past administration of Senator Liyel Imoke for the construction of 200 housing units, as well as the 40 housing units built by the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry.
Iyadim called on the newly inaugurated executive council members to live above the board and view their appointments as a call to serve.
He called on stakeholders to avoid partisanship and join him in building better local government for sustainable development.
Iyadim is the seventh president of the council since its creation 23 years ago.