Youths of Bakassi Local Government Area today, staged a protest at the House of Assembly Complex during plenary to register their grievances over their living conditions and political welfare even as they gave the State Government a 14-day ultimatum to respond to their 5-point adjuration which bordered on retrieving the 76 oil wells ceded to Akwa-Ibom State and payment of their financial accruals.
The group drew the attention of the plenary with loud chants of aluta songs which they echoed unwearied to the ears of all in the assembly chamber, prompting the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jones to send a 3-member delegation led by Rt. Hon. Peter Odey to them.
The delegation team which had Rt. Hon. Matthew Olory and Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Ironbar as members held a brief talk with the protesters who hastily presented the purpose of their outing in a summarized 5-point prayer.
Their prayers, which they insisted should be attended to within two (2) weeks otherwise “expect the unusual” majored around the ceding of 76 oil wells in Bakassi LGA, Cross River State to Akwa-Ibom State; the delineation of their political composition; and the government’s unwillingness to pay them their financial accruals which accompanied their return from Bakassi.
The 5-point prayer was simply put:
- Give us our rightful financial and economic benefits.
- The National Boundary Commission should review the marine boundary.
- INEC should respect Law No.7 of State House of Assembly CRS.
- Give us our oil well we have been patient enough.
- We can not be refugees in our country.
According to the protesting youths, their visit to the Assembly today panned out of a visit to the National Boundary Commission and the Federal Ministry of Justice; noting that from the Assembly Complex, they would be heading to the Governor’s Office for same reason.
They appealed the House of Assembly to not stay quiet in their struggle but to contribute their quota as they (Bakassi youths) will stop at nothing to seeing their heart desires come to fruition.
Responding to them, the leader of the Assembly’s delegation, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey commended the manner withwhich they had carried out the protest while assuring them that the House was on their side as regards their right to agitate for what was theirs.
Rt. Hon. Odey guaranteed the youths of the State Government’s willingness to revisit the circumstances surrounding the ceding of the 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom. And on delineation, Rt. Hon. Odey advised the protesters to also visit INEC to lodge their complain, stating that only INEC reserves the right to delineate political wards and constituencies as that was beyond the powers of the House of Assembly and the Cross River State Government at large.
Odey promised that the House of Assembly was going to look into the prayers of the Bakassi youths and consequently, get back to them, either through their representative, Rt. Hon. Ekpo Ekpo or the Honourable Speaker.