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Govt Urges Urgent Resettlement Of Bakassi Returnees

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LAST week, Vice President Namadi Sambo, who is also Chairman of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), had to deal with issues relating Bakassi people at two meetings.

The Presidential Committees on the Rehabilitation of Displaced Person Affected by the International Court of Justice’s Judgment met with the vice president while the need to speed up the rehabilitation process of Nigerians affected became a major agenda.

Coming against the backdrop of the reported renewal of onslaught against Nigerians in the Bakassi, Sambo stressed that the task of rehabilitating them is the business of all levels of government.

First was a meeting where the VP challenged the Presidential Committee on Bakassi and Rights of the Displaced People to expedite work on its assignment, as time to relocate the Bakassi people is of essence.

At the meeting with the Presidential Committee on Bakassi at the State House, Abuja on Thursday, Sambo said the time to round up with the issue of Bakassi has become pertinent and everything must be concluded before August 2013.

Sambo challenged the committee to work hard to ensure the final report of the committee is submitted to the government to enable it swing into action, “taking into consideration the larger interest of Bakassi people, and the recommendations should also include time frame, to guide government on what to do as there is only four months left to conclude everything concerning the plight of the Bakassi people.

Earlier, Deputy Governor of Cross River State and Chairman of the Presidential Committee, Efiok Cobham, commended Sambo and the federal government for their commitment to solving the Bakassi problem.

He stressed the need for the Committee members to visit Bakassi and to ascertain the area where the people want to be resettled.

He lamented that about a week ago the Cameroun gendarmes evicted about 2000 Nigerians, noting that the state is harbouring another set of displaced people, who are living in an open area with their family members.

Interior Minister, Abba Moro, promised that despite the provocation by the Cameroonian authorities as manifested by the incessant attack on Nigerians by their gendarmes, Nigeria would continue to respect the Green Tree Agreement (GTA) being one of the signatories.

Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives and former Nigerian Envoy to Ethiopia, Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo, has described the recent invasion of Efut Obot Ikot (the Efut people of the hills) as a clear vindication of the concerns raised by the Bakassi Support Group.

She noted that the failure of the Nigerian state to seek revision of the International Court of Justice’s ruling was a political miscalculation.

In a statement issued yesterday, Toyo wondered what options were left for the government in the face of weak position it has put itself.

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