Group seeks probe of alleged diversion of relief materials for Bakassi IDPs

Bakassi Peninsula

A coalition of Bakassi indigenes has called on the Cross River State and federal governments, as well as the international community to investigate the diversion of relief materials for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the area’s resettlement programme

The programme was headed by a former Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Florence Ita-Giwa, who had earlier petitioned the Department of State Services (DSS) on the diversion of the materials.

The group said she had also called on the Federal Government and National Assembly to probe the distribution of relief materials across the country.It stressed that if a proper and independent probe was instituted, it would reveal a whole can of worms.

But a statement signed by the leader of the group and Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Inter-Party Matters, Austine Ibok in Ikang, described Ita-Giwa’s alarm on the diversion of relief materials as ‘drama’.

Ibok, who spoke in company of four other Bakassi indigenes said: “The same persons that were signatories and active participants in the ceding of our ancestral land through deceptive Green Tree Agreement that never sought the consent of our people, are main actors in the drama.”

The group condemned insinuations that the diverted materials were ordered by Ayade saying: “We condemn any attempt by any individual or group to bring the name of our amiable and highly passionate governor into disrepute.

“The allegation that the governor and some political leaders diverted relief materials meant for our displaced brothers is degrading and seditious. “We have seen Ayade’s zeal for the wellbeing of his people in the 5, 000 Africa Development Bank (AfDB) funded housing estate under construction at Ikpa-Nkanya, the celebration of his birthday with the people, regular visits with the international community and monthly release of funds for the resettlement programme headed by Ita-Giwa.”

The group argued against the relocation of the people to Dayspring, saying it was a non-existent location.Ita-Giwa had last week raised the alarm on the alleged diversion of the relief materials following a tip-off by some armed policemen who accompanied her to recover some of the items from a private home in Satellite Town Estate, Calabar.

The Federal Government had donated the items for the Bakassi IDPs through the National Refugee Commission (NRC) and were handed over to the director-general of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), John Inaku, for distribution to the IDPs at Ata Ema.Clan Head of Ata Ema, Etubom Okon Etim Okon Asuquo said: “Since we left SEMA, I have not seen anything. Nobody has come to tell me anything. It is really sad.”

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Bakassi IDPs
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