By G9ija

Bakassi people have sought return of the 76 oil wells ceded to Akwa Ibom State or be adequately compensated.

They also called for the immediate rehabilitation of Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) ex-fighters in the interest of peace.

Executive Chairman of Bakassi council area, Iyadim Amboni Iyadim who made the appeal yesterday on behalf of the people at a thanksgiving to mark his 100 days in office at Ekpri Ikang, the headquarters, queried the ‘hasty’ secession of the resource-rich area to neighbouring Cameroon.

He said the 2002 event that culminated in the final pull out in 2007 had never happened anywhere in the world, citing U.S., Mexico and others that got unfavourable judgments yet declined enforcement.

Iyadim regretted that his people were still “displaced, neglected and on transit” 23 years after the epochal decision.

To worsen matter, he stated that the loss of the facilities had not only worsened the suffering of the people of Bakassi, but also the indigenes of Cross River State.

His words: “We want our 76 oil wells back. We have lost everything. How come we lost our territory, yet our oil wells are still with Akwa Ibom? We can barely pay workers. The people of Bakassi have been abandoned, neglected and on transit for over 20 years. We have suffered a lot because we lost those oil wells and our territory due to national interest.

“The Federal Government should settle the people of Bakassi properly or return our 76 oil wells. We have suffered enough for the collective interest of this country, and yet we have nothing to show for it. In all the similar cases, none has been so hastily granted like that of Bakassi. Our land was hastily handed over in a political way. They should return our territory or settle us as agreed.”

The chairman, who decried the alleged neglect of the ex-freedom fighters, called on the Cross River government to immediately honour the agreement it entered with them.

“Up till now, the ex-agitators have not been rehabilitated, and this is a very big challenge,” he claimed, adding: “The government should fulfill the agreement it signed when they laid down their weapons and embraced peace.”