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Nigeria vows to halt further attacks in Bakassi by Cameroon Gendarmes

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The federal government Thursday condemned the attack on Nigerians living in Bakassi Peninsula, which is under Cameroonian sovereignty, and assured the people that it was taking measures to protect them from further attacks by that country's gendarmes.


Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, told State House correspondents in Abuja at the end of the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Bakassi and Rights of the Displaced People that the government would ensure that the belligerence on the part of the gendarmes is checked.

At the meeting, Vice-President Namadi Sambo directed the committee to ensure that it submitted its final report this month on the relocation of the Bakassi people.


Moro spoke against the backdrop of the recent attack on Nigerians living in the oil-rich peninsula, which Nigeria gave up following the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that awarded the territory to Cameroun.


Some 17 persons were feared killed and about 1,900 displaced when the Cameroonian gendarmes attacked them in their village, Efut Obot Ikot. The displaced Nigerians, according to a Bakassi leader and former National Assembly Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, fled through the forest to escape to Nigeria.


They were later camped at St. Mark's Primary School, Eyo Edem in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.










Moro said a report of what happened to the Nigerians had been submitted to the government and was being studied with a view to taking appropriate steps.


According to him, the final report of the presidential committee would be ready soon, pointing out that government would ensure the implementation of the committee's recommendations that would ease the hardships brought on them by their forced relocation from Bakassi.

He explained that the federal government was working closely with all stakeholders, including the affected state governments, in finding a lasting solution to the plight of the Bakassi people.


He however urged the victims of the Cameroonian aggression to remain calm as government was determined to ensure that they are protected from further attacks.


He called on them to exercise patience and persevere while government was taking steps to ensure their safety in the peninsula.

He said: "As it is now, as a good player on the international scene, Nigeria has subscribed to the Green Tree Agreement and on our own part as a country, we will continue to abide by the provisions of the agreement.


"For one reason or the other, resulting from little skirmishes here and there, the Cameroonian gendarmes have attacked some innocent Nigerians.


"I think at the moment we should not be attempting to segment solutions. The present crisis that we find in Bakassi is a Nigerian crisis and the Nigerian government is taking every step in conjunction with state governments to address the situation.


"And so, the right thing to do is to look up to the decision of government as to what to do with the Bakassi people, because the Bakassi people are Nigerians."


At the meeting, Sambo directed the presidential committee to file its final report this month to hasten the process of the relocation of the Bakassi people.


Sambo said all the issues regarding the peninsula and its estranged people must be quickly addressed before the end of August, thus necessitating the need for the quick submission of the report.


He advised that the report should include the timeframe to guide government on what to do, as the committee has four months left to conclude everything concerning the plight of the Bakassi people.


He told the committee that funds would be made available to them so as to discharge their duties accordingly.


Earlier, the Deputy Governor of Cross River State and Chairman of the presidential committee, Mr. Efiok Cobham, commended the efforts of the government to address the plight of the Bakassi people.


He stressed the need for the committee members to visit Bakassi and to ascertain the area where the people want to be resettled.

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Goodluck Johnathan, Nigerian Head of State.

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BY MUHAMMAD BELLO (Thisday)

April 12, 2013

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