3,200 Bakassi residents still in refugee camp – Ita-Giwa

At least 3,200 Bakassi residents, displaced by the UN ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, are still in refugee camps six years after Nigeria lost the territory, Florence Ita-Giwa, a former senator has said Tuesday.

Ms. Ita-Giwa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos that affected persons, including men, women and children were desperate to return to their communities.

“I am again appealing to the Federal Government to urgently resettle the 3, 200 Bakassi people still in refugee camp,” she said. “These people have identities and able to know where they are from originally. So, they cannot continue to be refugees in their country.”

Nigeria formally ceded Bakassi to Cameroon on Aug. 14, 2008, halting fifteen years of border conflict.

An UN-backed period of transition agreed by the two countries allow Cameroon to develop an administrative presence in Bakassi Peninsula, displacing thousands of Nigerian residents of the disputed area.

“The displaced people urgently need to be resettled and compensation paid to the Cross River State Government in perpetuity,’’ Ms. Ita-Giwa said.

Bakassi was formally ceded by Nigeria to Cameroon in 2002 and Nigerians there had until Aug. 2013 to decide to become Cameroonians or leave the territory.

The Senator, praised the Federal Government’s concern over the plight of the people but said the resettlement of the displaced Bakassi people was a cause she would continue to uphold.

“I am obliged to ensure that these people still in refugee camp are resettled equitably,” She said. “They are more than anxious to return to their communities to continue their normal lives.”

(NAN)

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