Militants stall UN team’s visit to Bakassi

un_logo11THE planned visit of the 20-man United Nations (UN)/ National Boundary Commission Need Assessment team to riverine communities in Bakassi, particularly the Dayspring 1 and 2, was on Sunday aborted due to suspected activities of militants in the area.

Meanwhile, Governor Godswill Akpabio has said Akwa Ibom people affected by the displacement from Bakassi Peninsula in Cameroun to Cross River State still nurse a bitter experience.

The UN team was to visit the area for an on-the-spot assessment as a follow up to the World Court judgment and the Green Tree Agreement that finally sacked Nigeria from Bakassi.

Some persons have attributed the last Sunday aborted trip to sabotage but reliable sources in the peninsular said activities of militants that have been operating like pirates were responsible for the situation as security was not guaranteed.

However, another version has it that the trip was called off, as one of the police gunboats used was said to have developed fault.

Sources said the militants who operate around the estuaries of the Akpayafe River in Bakassi had vowed to confront the entourage militarily as they want an independent state for Bakassi through a referendum.

Militants in the zone are daring as they always arm themselves with sophisticated weapons, attacking innocent persons and government officials.

Due to the activities of these militants, the Cross River State Governor Senator Liyel Imoke had recently raised alarm over the rate of piracy and militancy in the water boundary between Nigeria and Cameroun.

Imoke, who spoke while receiving Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin, during a courtesy call in Calabar, said the increase is as a result of the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun and recommended a joint military patrol to ensure safety of lives and property as well as the image of the country.

Akpabio spoke at the weekend when a delegation of UN on International Boundary Matters led by Mrs. Rosa Marie from Spain paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Uyo.

“The Bakassi Peninsula saga will remain a bitter pill for the people of Akwa Ibom because 80 per cent of our indigenes lived in Bakassi. Due to the saga caused by boundary crisis between Cross River and Cameroun, most of our people died as a result of abject poverty. I hope all the agencies present here today have realised their mistakes of the past.

“The returnees from Bakassi who are my people and most of them who are not from this state are well taken care of by the state government. We have single-handedly put in huge sum of money for their welfare. At every point in time, we must be our brothers’ keeper by trying to help one another,” the governor said.

Marie thanked the governor for supporting and meeting the needs of the returnees, assuring him that the

UN would support the state government.

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