Elder Statesman and Convener, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark on Monday called on the Federal government to as a matter of urgency establish a Presidential Commission on Bakassi that would appropriately attend to the plight of the people of Bakassi.
He said the call became necessary on what he described as the unending inhuman treatment being meted out to Nigerians in Bakassi by the government and people of Cameroon, particularly within the last one week in which hundreds of Nigerians were said to have lost their lives.
The elder statesman, who made the call during a press conference in Abuja warned that the situation could degenerate if urgent steps are not taken to ameliorate their pains.
“Our prayer is for a special Presidential Commission on Bakassi to be set up, urgently, to review and tackle their situations in all ramifications.
“:With the establishment of a Presidential commission on Bakassi, the controversy over who is to distribute relief materials could not have arisen between the Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency Prof. Ben Ayade and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, to the detriment of the people who desperately need homestead, relief, education, means of livelihood and a future to look forward to”, he said.
Expressing worry over the manner in which the Federal Government is handling the issue of killings of her citizens not only in Bakassi but in other parts of the world, Clark reminded the Federal government that the primary reason it existed was for the protection of her citizens wherever they may be.
He said the time is now for the government to stand up to its responsibility and emulate countries like the United States of America that can go to war over the controversial death of any of her citizenry in a foreign country.
“But Nigerian citizens are killed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa, their businesses are attacked, Nigerian students are killed in Dubai, they are killed in the United States of America, they are killed in other countries, yet the Nigerian government looks the other way, or make statement condemning the action but does not follow through to logical end. This is no longer acceptable”, he said.
Apart from the Federal Government whom Clark blamed for ceding Bakassi to Cameroon without concrete guarantee for the protection of Nigerians there, Clark berated the international community and the United Nations for looking the other way as Cameroon continues to disregard the terms of agreement of the treaty.
He lamented that while some of the people of Bakassi who remained in Bakassi are now stateless those who returned are now refugee in their own country.
He disclosed that the Bakassi issue was one of the issues raised during the visit of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to Cross River State on his tour of the Niger Delta, adding that the issue was also among the 16-point Agenda which PANDEF presented to the Federal government during its visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1, 2016.
“For the sake of equity and fair play and in order to nip in the bud any looming crisis, I once again, on behalf of PANDEF, appeal to the Federal government to urgently set up its dialogue team for talks to commence. The luxury of time is not there”, he said