THE natives of Bakassi in Cross River State, have been described as the most displaced people in Nigeria because of the non-implementation of the Green Tree Agreement by the United Nations and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In a statement in Calabar to mark the 2020 World Refugee Day, former Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters Senator Florence Ita-Giwa said non-implementation of the Agreement has made the indigenes of Bakassi suffer in the hands of Cameroonian officials.
Ita-Giwa, who represented Southern Senatorial District in Cross River, in the Senate, maintained that “as a people we have suffered enough to the extent that some of us are forced to return to the peninsula in spite of the rutlessness of Cameroonian officials rather than be exposed to the indignity of extended habitation in squalid camps.
“Bakassi indigenes are clearly the most neglected set of displaced persons in Nigeria given the number of years they have been left to wallow inside squalid camps.
“Since Nigeria formally pulled out of the Bakassi peninsula, our ancestral home, on August 14, 2008, most of us have had to endure untold hardship in so-called displaced persons camps.
“While we sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Cross River State government, and mindful of the financial constraints affecting the government, we demand that the Federal Government take up its share of responsibility in resettling us properly.
“In the same token, we are calling on the UN and the guarantors to the Green Tree Agreement to do the needful as it concerns us.
“Under the 2006 Green Tree Agreement that preceded the withdrawal from our homeland, assurances of our speedy rehabilitation and recovery were given.
“It is our hope and prayer that by the time the world observes another World Refugee Day, we would be in a position to announce a marked improvement in the fortunes of longsuffering Bakassi indigenes.”
She bemoaned that the indigenes of Bakassi, who where forcefully pulled out of their ancestral homes 12 years ago, still pace the streets with bleeding heels amidst hopelessness.
Ita-Giwa noted the financial burden the returnees impose on the government, and called for the intervention of the Federal Government and international community.