Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade, has implored the people of South South zone to come together and speak with one voice on the injustices of ceding Bakassi Peninsular to Cameroon and the attendant suffering its inhabitants are facing.
He rued that the region lays the golden egg yet suffers unspeakable deprivation in the Nigeria project.
Ayade stated this while receiving his Edo state counterpart, Godwin Obaseki in his office in Calabar.
“The ceding of Bakassi was totally illegal because there was no ratification by the National Assembly, there was no plebiscite which is totally inconsistent with the provisions of International Law. I believe that it is time for the South South to come as a bloc to speak strongly for the people of Bakassi.”
Obaseki visited Ayade in continuation of his thank you visit to South South governors who rallied behind him during the electioneering campaigns leading to his victory at the Edo governorship election, which now makes the South south a wholly PDP- controlled region.
“The South South is in crisis. We are the greatest generator of the revenue of this country, yet you cannot come from Uyo to Calabar by road. You have to fly because within that 45 minutes journey you will have to do it for four or more hours. We must tackle such fundamental issues. Our carnival is suffering because people cannot come in. Our seaport is suffering because it cannot be dredged. We cannot as a region sit back and watch this happen.
“Perhaps your visit will give us a great opportunity to bring to the fore, one of the greatest challenges of our state, as a people. We watch our brothers, our sisters, our sons and daughters of the Bakassi extraction being driven out of their ancestral homes, reduced to want in body, in spirit and in soul. We watch with melancholy, anger and pain as they sleep in subhuman living conditions. As a country, we have a budget for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), we see how IDPs in other regions are properly funded by international organisations, yet the case of Bakassi IDPs is different,” Ayade said.
He congratulated Obaseki on his victory, describing it as victory for Edo people.
Governor Obaseki thanked Ayade for standing behind him during the campaigns, noting that Edo and Cross River share historical ties.
The governor pledged to work towards the revival of the South South regional body, known as the BRACED Commission, which is an acronym for the six states in the zone.
He bemoaned the utter neglect of the region, saying it was in the best interest of Nigeria that infrastructures in the region were fixed.