Gov. Bassey Otu
Cross River state government has rejected the ceding of Bakassi Pennisular to Cameroon 21 years ago saying there was no referendum to that effect.
Nigeria and the people of the state lost Bakassi Peninsular to Cameroon through the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002 and the Green Tree Agreement (GTA) or treaty of 2006 which was entered between Nigeria and Cameroon under the supervision of the United Nations even though that treaty to date has not been ratified by the National Assembly of Nigeria.
As a result of this ceding, the state lost its litoral and oil producing state status and it’s revenue plummeted.
Fielding questions from some newsmen during a maiden Media briefing marking his 100 days in office on Friday, the state governor, Senator Bassey Otu said, “we did not ask the Federal government to hand over Bakassi and though in absolute sobriety, we have continued to say it without ecuvacation that nobody can declare a litoral judgement against a people when there is no referendum and the people did not subscribe to it.
“It is one of the points we have started fighting seriously and we have gone quite far in this fight. On the revenue approval to Bakassi, yes it is true that for some years back and ever since I came into office, that payment has never been done and we are looking at it as being a very serious issue”.
Pillar Today recall that the federal government had approved a monthly sum of N500 million as stabilisation fund to the state in 2008 for the loss of 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom state in the Supreme Court in a matter the state had dragged the latter to.
Former Senator who represented Cross River South Senatorial district in the Senate, Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP) had in 2018, said “the issue of Bakassi was on the front burner in the Senate as it was referred to two committees, that is Judiciary and Finance for proper scrutiny even as “the treaty ceding the Bakassi was yet to be ratified by the National Assembly, and the matter is still open”.
On the famous Obudu Cattle Ranch that was neglected for quite some time, Otu said, “I personally visited there to assess and know what needs to be done to bring it back to international standard but I got there and discovered that the issues were just the Union. They have been on strike for a long time, saying there were owed salaries but I am very happy to announce that I had sorted and absorbed all of them into the state government service and paid them part of those salaries, and I believe in the not too distant time, I will pay them completely.
He disclosed that “Mr. President is very interested in Obudu so much that he sent officials to come and look at Obudu because it is going to be a Presidential Camp David in Nigeria. The Ranch is going to wear a completely new look, that is why we are rushing to make sure that the cargo airport is sorted, alongside the baby airstrip”.
On the Obudu World mountain race that was abandoned by the former government of Senator Ben Ayade, he said “so far, I have been briefed a bit but I have not gotten the kind of verve that I require to ignite that process because we are still looking at some foreign sponsors and the things they are going to do and I believe that if they are open to it, we would be ready. Every other thing, except that, for now, has been taken care of”.
Equally fielding questions on the issue of bad roads in Calabar South, Otu said” we do need good roads for people to move around and do their business. It is one of the areas I have looked at seriously and as a matter of fact, we started work on some roads but we discovered that the rains are so heavy and we cannot do anything. In some areas, we ran into problems because in trying to repair, they had cut the road and by the time they filled it up, the rain came down and took everything. So we had to take a break until when the rains subside.
Similarly on the Odukpani- Adiabo bridge, “all that would wait for the dry season so that we know exactly what to do”, he stated.