Andy Essiet, Calabar
As part of efforts to compensate Cross River for the loss of Bakassi to Cameroon, the Senate may soon consider the establishment of a Nigerian Research Institute for Fisheries and Aqua Culture in Bakassi Local Government Area (LGA) in Southern Senatorial district of the state.
The Chairman Cross River Caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey who said this in a statement made available to some newsmen in Calabar yesterday stated that already the proposal was presented at the Senate public hearing for consideration.
He said that Bakassi “is one of the most traumatized LGA in this country. Bakassi LGA has been created, recreated and recreated as a result of intervention from even as high as the Supreme Court of Nigeria. .
“The story of the loss of the 76 oil wells that belonged to Bakassi and Cross River state is not a new story and this arose as a result of ceding Bakassi to Cameroon through no fault of ours” .
Bassey who represents Cross River South senatorial in the Senate noted than the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon which is a bonafide part of Nigeria , there was no plebiscite, no consultation with the people of Bakassi in giving them out to Cameroonians.
“So for the first time in the history and in contravention of the history of any known international law, Bakassi was ceded, not just the land, the people was ceded to Cameroon without a plebiscite and referendum. It did not ask the people do you want to be here or there and this created problems for the people of Bakassi and ofcourse they were displaced, their livelihood the were displaced and these are some of the problems we have in that part of the country today.
“There have been increase in criminality because the people have no means of livelihood. The main means of livelihood of the people of Bakassi was fishing and fisheries and with the ceding of Bakassi even this means of livelihood was thrown into confusion” .
In view of this, he said the senate is considering the proposal to establish the school and “we have here today is an attempt by the Federal Government to reestablish its presence in the Bakassi LGA through education and that is the reason we have proposed this school of Fisheries in Bakassi LGA and it is not just for the Bakassi people but for Nigerians.
Bakassi, he said “is a place in the Atlantic Ocean and we believe the school will create the necessary attention that Bakassi requires and to educate the people of Bakassi and it will be a net economic driver for our country by contributing to the agricultural sector which is one ofthe key drivers of the Nigerian economy.
“So with this few remarks I would like to commend this school of Fisheries to you and it will be a degree awarding institution and it will address the agriculture value chain and we know that the value chain in agriculture is a long and lucrative value chain and we think that this will be a contribution of killing two birds with one stone”.
That the school when established “will need to educate our people and contribute to the agricultural value chain and the need to bring Bakassi LGA to the limelight and the attention of the Federal government . With these few remarks I would like to commend this school for your kind consideration and that of my colleagues in the committee and submit that this will be a net positive for our country” .