Etim Okon, an Indigene of Effiat Clan, in a chat, suspects that the documents issued by the Cameroon authorities are fake, adding that they do this to get the people’s consent and to present the territory as Cameroonian territory as border demarcation between Nigeria and Cameroon is ongoing.
“None of the Effiat 16 villages had been ceded to Cameroon when Bakassi Peninsula was ceded to Cameroon by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in 2002,” he said.
He added, “Effiat is an area in Akwa Ibom State and not part of Cross River, where Bakassi Peninsula became an issue.”
Further investigations revealed that the mangrove island, which hosts 16 villages of Effiat clan in Mbo, is currently under the administrative control of the Cameroon authorities.
It could be recalled that the member representing Mbo State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Samuel Ufuo, last week, presented the issue as matter of urgent public importance to the House, saying that Cameroonian gendarmes terrorise, dehumanise, and deprive the people of their rights and privileges.
President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to his Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Biya, shortly after his inauguration as Nigeria’s president a year ago, assured that the country will continue to abide by the ruling of the ICJ on the Bakassi Peninsula.
The state lawmaker maintained that none of the 16 mangrove islands were part of the territory ceded to the Cameroon government by the world court during the Bakassi Peninsula issue.
Ufuo, whose position had earlier been mirrored by Uwak during his presentation to the House of Representatives the previous year, stated with sadness that the affected natives have lost their sources of livelihood.
It was gathered from the record of the votes and proceedings of Wednesday 14 January 2015 of the 7th House of Representatives then led by Mr. Aminu Tambuwal (now Governor of Sokoto State) that the House had made three resolutions on the matter which include setting up an ad-hoc committee to investigate and report within 30 days (beginning from 14th January 2015).
According to Mr Ufuo, the resolutions were discarded following the electioneering at the time and the subsequent end of tenure the 7th National Assembly in June 2015.
“Should this annexation by the Republic of Cameroon be allowed to continue after the ongoing demarcation by both countries, Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria as a whole will lose the territory, God forbid, with thousands miles in our coastal water including mineral resources.