FG, UN created humanitarian crisis in Bakassi and left—Commissioner

*One of the completed housing units

The Cross River State commissioner for social housing, Mr. Edem Okon Effiom blamed the federal government and the United Nations for not controlling the damage they had done after creating humanitarian crisis in Bakassi.

It would be recalled that the World Court at The Hague had ruled on October 10, 2002 that Bakassi belonged to Cameroon, relying on evidence available, especially the Anglo-German agreement.

In 2008, after series of dialogue, President Olusegun Obasanjo officially ceded Bakassi to Cameroon by signing the Green Tree Agreement produced by the commission.

But no effort was made to re-settle the people, a development that led to constant harassment and killing of the people by Cameroonian gendarmes.

Conducting journalists round the housing units built by the state government for the displaced people of Bakassi at Ifiang Ayong, the commissioner said the state government had taken the responsibility of finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Bakassi created by the international community.

“The problem we are trying to resolve as a state was not created by us. We didn’t create this, United Nations and the federal government created this but today it is a shame that they have abandoned us. They would have been here to solve this problem,” he stressed.

He said the first phase of housing scheme will be ready soon.

Effiom recalled that the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade had, while marking his birthday with the displaced people of Bakassi last year had promised to provide a befitting accommodation for them.

Effiom expressed appreciation to the governor for walking the talk adding that the houses are built with the best of materials.

“These buildings as you can see are not mere huts but two bedroom flats en- suites. They are built with the state-of-the-art facilities. You cannot have social housing units in any part of the world better than these ones, not even in advanced countries,” he said.

While disclosing that there is provision of land within the estate “for governor’s lodge, market, schools and skills acquisition centre,” he added that, “in this first phase, there are 52 houses, out of which 36 are at the roofing levels, 14 at lintel and two totally completed. So basically I can conveniently say we are at 70 percent completion.”

On the choice of the project site, Effiom said: “This was an area that was militant infested, but today I see those boys happy. We have transformed their lives as they come here to do little jobs; some have gotten money, decent clothes and motorcycles. Nothing can be bigger than the lives we have transformed here.”

In separate interviews, some of the residents commended the state government for giving them hope and a decent home.

“I am very excited with the project and the ministry that oversees the task as the heads are always here supervising the job. I thank Governor Ayade for remembering this jurisdiction to site this project here. What Ayade has done is beyond explanation,” said a displaced youth, Okon Effiom Archibong.

A local carpenter who is handling the roofing of some of the houses said: It feels so good. This project has given me employment. At least I got contract to roof some of the buildings.”


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