By Our Reporter
A group, under the platform of the Mainland Block of Bakassi Local Government Area, has found fault with an alleged Senator Florence Ita-Giwa’s claims that thirty-forty thousand voters were disenfranchised during the last general election in the area, and that Bakassi has no form of social amenities.
They further said the Dayspring settlement believed to be the permanent abode for the displaced people is not part of Bakassi Local Government Area known by law, describing it as a temporary costal fishing settlements completely occupied by a scanty itinerant fishermen – most of whom are predominantly non-Cross Riverians who are about 100 persons in number.
Recall that Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, a popular leader of the area who is fondly refered to as Mma Bakassi, during her appearance on Arise television programme last week, was alleged to have raised various issues concerning Bakassi- issues the Mainland Block of the Council area regarded as misleading.
In a press statement made available to PillarToday and signed by Mr Victor Eyo Harrison, its Assistant Secretary-General, and Chief Michael Efa Henshaw, Director, Community Mobilization, the Mainland Bakassi said that contrary to Senator Ita-Giwa’s alleged claims that the area has no hospitals, schools, jetties and other infrastructures, such facilities “exist and are functional” in Bakassi.
According to the statement, “The area she refers to as Dayspring is not Bakassi Local Government Area. It is a temporary costal fishing settlements completely occupied by a scanty Itinerant fishermen – most of whom are predominantly non-Cross Riverian’s – a scanty and itinerant population of about a hundred persons at a time.
“That her claim that thirty-forty thousand voters were disenfranchised is contrary to INEC records of registered voters in Bakassi Local Government Area.
“That Cross River State Law No. 7 made in 2007, pursuant to the provisions of section 8/4 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, relocated Bakassi Local Government Area from its ceded territory to the three Ikang wards which were carved out from Akpabuyo Local Government Area, not Dayspring fishing settlements.
“Her claim that she spiritedly fought for the emergence of the Honourable House of Assembly Member elect is not true. All the votes that produced the winning results of the House of Assembly Member- Elect came from Mainland Bakassi – resettlement camp.
“It is also untrue that she sent boats to convey people from the Republic of Cameroons – the ceded Riverine Bakassi, to vote in Dayspring Fishing settlements.
‘It is also untrue that the houses built in the resettlement camp by Governor Ben Ayade to accommodate the Bakassi Returnees were, in her words “pulled down” by the Endsars protesters. These houses were only vandalized and this vandalization was not caused by the host communities.
“Furthermore, her claim that she came around to rescue the occupants of the resettlement camp, is also very untrue. She was not even around during the Endsars protests in Bakassi.
“However, what we demand is that Senator Florence Ita Giwa should please enlighten us and in fact, all Nigerians on the locations of her acclaimed seventy (70) polling units that produced zero (0) vote in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, and seventeen votes (17) in the Governorship and House of Assembly Elections – held on 25th February, and the 18th of March, 2023 respectively in her Dayspring axis of Bakassi.”
The natives claimed that “All the votes that were recorded by INEC in the general elections came from Mainland Bakassi,” and advised that “For a brighter sky today and a more secure tomorrow, it is time that we face reality and shelf petty and centrist political interests.”