BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Displaced Persons of Bakassi in Cross River state, have commended Governor Ben Ayade for keeping his promise and coming to their aid by providing a befitting accomodation for them and their families.
The IDPs who lost their ancestral homes and land 18 years ago following the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameron in compliance with the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague were recently resettled in 52 units of two- bedroom flats built and furnished by governor Ayade.
Speaking during the celebration of World Refugee Day at the newly built Bakassi IDP estate, the camp leader of the Bakassi refugees, Chief Etim Ene Okon , amented the neglect the IDPs had suffered through the years before Ayade came to their rescue.
“For several years we have been living in very inhuman conditions and our Governor has indeed come to our rescue and he has restored back our dignity, he has restored back our name. We are very proud and we are so grateful for the opportunity to live a good life in good condition with our families. “
Continuing he said, ” before now we have been sleeping in the primary schools, sleeping in churches, turned to beggars in our own land, our livelihood totally lost but our Governor came to see us and made a promise and today he has kept that promise giving us a befitting accomodation, we are very happy about that”.
While thanking Governor Ayade for being their only saviour in recent times, Chief Ene appealed to the federal government to complement the efforts of the state government by providing for the IDPs adding that they are still Nigerians no matter the situation they have found themselves.
“We plead with our dear president not to allow this burden on the state government alone, our Governor has done his best for us by providing this housing units with the lean resources at his disposal with a promise to do even more to help kickstart our livelihood, but we still have a lot of challenges and we call on President Buhari to come and assist us. “
On his part, the secretary of the Bakassi IDPs, Mr Okon Etim Effiom, debunked the rumour that the houses have not been allocated to them and advised Cross Riverians not to listen to those who he said have chosen to play politics with the good intentions of Governor Ayade.
“We are delighted beyond measure to have been alive to see this dream come true. For us as IDPs we cannot thank our Governor enough for standing by us and keeping his promise of resettling us with a befitting accomodation. As you can see for yourself we have moved in here over a week now with our families and we are very happy. So for those who are carrying rumours that we are not the real beneficiaries of this housing scheme my advise to them is to desist from playing politics with the good works of our Governor”, Etim Effiong said.
He called on the federal government to step in and support the efforts of the state government towards the Bakassi IDP especially in the area of economic resettlement.