Friday, 12 July 2019

Ceding of Bakassi, 76 oil wells: C'River NYCN Elders forum calls for adequate compensation

10th July 2019 | Ukorebi 

The Cross River State Youths Elders and Stakeholders Forum of National Youth Council of Nigeria has put up a strong case against the Federal government calling on all concern to ensure the state is duly compensated for the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to neighboring Cameroon and wells to Akwa Ibom state as well as other sundry losses the state incurred due to the various  ceding. 

The Chairman of the forum, Amb. Jerry Odey made this position known while addressing pressmen in Calabar, Amb. Odey disclosed that aside from the colossal loss the state had experienced, the Federal Government has deliberately refused to approve the signature projects of the state government which he said are viable enough to liberate the state from the financial quandary the loss of Bakassi and 76 oil wells have plunged the state into. 

Amb. Odey who is also the Director General of Bring Back our Oil Wells informed that Cross River state Youths are ready to lead the fight for adequate compensation to be given the state or the various resources ceding by the state are returned. The Forum also launched a hashtag as part of their movement to drive home their 6 point demands on the Federal Government. 

Amb. Jerry Odey's address reads in part:

..You will all recall that in 2012, the supreme court of Nigeria gave a final ruling on our OIL WELLS in favor of our sister State, Akwa Ibom thereby taking away the RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP of oil wells to them which equally denied us of thirteen percent (13%) of derivation from federal allocation.

This judgment, of course, was not welcome by our State leadership and entire CrossRiverians, but as law-abiding citizens, we respected the decision of the court which actually did not reflect our yearnings for justice but with a total hope and resolve that someday justice would be done. This verdict has left Cross River State and CrossRiverians in untold economic hardship and driven many into poverty.

Since then, the federal government of Nigeria has been insensitive to our plights as this decision did not take into account COMPENSATION PLANS or even work out any modality towards compensating us.

We the youths of Cross River State consider this injustice done to us as totally unacceptable and we ask that something must be done about it.

Fellow youths, our governor (Sen Prof Ben Ayade) came into office in May 2015 with the full knowledge of our economic and socio-political situation, he came in with an economic blueprint of  "Industrialisation", a vision that he believes can decouple and deliver the State from over-dependent on federal allocations.

He started with his SIGNATURE PROJECTS ( Bakassi Deep Sea Port and Super Highway) as pillars for development and numerous projects in the State in order to if not completely, but nearly take the State away from over-dependence on federal allocations.

However, most of these projects have been experiencing delays in coming into completion due to our financial status and surprisingly lack of APPROVALS from the federal government (e.g.THE POWER PLANT and others)  that are aimed at improving the economic situation of the state.

Due to the Federal government's insensitivity to our plights, we the youths of this State and the entire people of Cross River State,  therefore, launch the below hashtag:
(BBOOW@CRS.NG) to consolidate on our protest launched on Thursday, 4th July 2019 in the Capital city of Calabar to further put forward our demands to the federal government of Nigeria.

We, therefore, put forward the following demands to the federal government of Nigeria led by president Muhammadu Buhari:

1. Our Oil wells are brought back

2. The federal government of Nigeria should as a matter of necessity give prompt support to our government/Governor's (Sen Prof Ben Ayade's) SIGNATURE PROJECTS, like the Deep Sea Port, Super Highway, Power 
Plant to fast track their completion etc.

3. The federal government of Nigeria should reimburse cross river state government on what the state has spent on federal government roads.

4. The federal government of Nigeria should implement the green tree agreement (The Bakassi resettlement)

5. The federal government of Nigeria should give APPROVAL/LICENSES to our government to enable her to engage in the exploration of natural resources in the State.

6. The federal government of Nigeria should give prompt attention to all her ongoing/intending projects and programs in the State to ensure her economic growth and development in order to improve the livelihood of her citizens and place her special status as it were. CROSS RIVER STATE, CALABAR was the first CAPITAL CITY of Nigeria, and it indeed remains the "Pride of Nigeria" till date.

We call on international organizations, donors agencies, philanthropists, corporate private organizations, businessmen 
and women, investors, and other agencies to support the government of Cross River State of Nigeria by investing in the State as the economic viability of the State are not in doubt.

Speaking earlier, Comrade Ndiyo Ndiyo, Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Cross River state chapter said it was pertinent to Join the governor in fighting for the return of our resources or adequately compensated, he said should the state be fully compensated over the loss of these natural resources and landmass, and should the Federal government approve the signature projects of the state government such as the power plant, deep sea port, super highway etc the state can financially compete favorably amongst the comity of states in Nigeria.

He, therefore, called on every well-meaning Cross Riverian to join the campaign as he said the fight is been fought without personal gains or selfish interest as a motivation. 

Also lending his voice, Mr. Joe Bisong of the Caterpillar Movement commended the Youth Council for fighting against the injustice meted on the state, giving historical account of incidence that led to the ceding of the state's land and natural resources, the DG, said no sitting governor had ever fought against this injustice and this is the first time a sitting governor of a state is raising his voice against the injustice, therefore, he is fully in support of the move. 

He urged the youth to take up the fight to Abuja where they will be heard and taken seriously. 

Speaking with newsmen, the DG of Caterpillar movement wondered why a state will lose a landed property to another nation and the resources in the leftover land will now automatically belong to another state. 

"If there's no secret motive behind the move, why did they take the resources and rejected the refugees occupying the land?" 

It is an injustice and it must be corrected, the Federal Government and some cabal in the are out to frustrate the Cross River State because if you look our waterways, we are closet to the Atlantic and our evacuation route through the proposed superhighway is easier to feed other parts of the country than the ports located in Lagos".

It is deliberate for them to deny us approval and support for us to complete all these projects". He concluded.