80% of Bakassi indigenes are from Akwa Ibom- Gov. Akpabio

The bishop says unemployment and poverty are major issues in Akwa Ibom that needed "urgent" attention from government.

Abstract: The Governor of Akwa Ibom insists that Bakassi was wrongfully ceded to Cameroon by the International Court of Justice.

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Wednesday, said that 80 per cent of the residents of Bakassi Peninsula, now ceded to Cameroon, are indigenes of Akwa Ibom.

Mr. Akpabio said this on in Uyo, when the House of Representatives’ Committee on Treaties and Agreements led by its Chairman, Yakoob Alebiosu, paid him a visit.

He said that the state has been in a difficult situation due to the loss of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.

He recalled that before the creation of Bakassi Local Government Area in 1995 by the regime of the late Sani Abacha, the area, as at the 1953 population census, was part of the defunct Eket Division now in Akwa Ibom.

Mr. Akpabio noted that the inhabitants of the peninsula used to pay taxes to Eket Division. He expressed dissatisfaction that the people of the area were not consulted while the case between Cameroon and Nigeria was pending at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Mr. Akpabio advised the lawmakers not to meddle into the recent Supreme Court judgment over the 76 oil wells, noting that in 2005, the apex court had also decided the case in favour of Akwa Ibom.

He, however, reiterated his administration’s readiness to negotiate with Cross River in the interest of brotherhood.

The governor also advocated for the domestication of existing treaties to encourage economic development and peaceful co-existence between Nigeria and its neighbours.

“Since 1914, Nigeria has entered into many treaties. How many of the treaties have been implemented?“ the governor said. “I think some treaties should be done away with and some brought in to encourage economic development and peaceful co-existence between nations.”

Earlier, Mr. Alebiosu described the committee as a child of necessity as it was created following petitions from different groups.

He said that the committee is on a fact-finding mission, as efforts are being made to re-visit the Bakassi Peninsula Green Tree Agreement.

He alleged that there were issues of breach of agreement which came up after the court handed over the area to Cameroon.

Mr. Alebiosu noted that the committee would support the domestication of some treaties and agreements at the end of its tour.

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