SW Governor Debunks Claims Of Bakassi Independence Declarations

Okalia Bilai addressing journalists

Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, has dismissed claims that Nigerians in Bakassi have declared their independence and launched a radio station.

 He qualified widespread reports propagating the alleged event as rumours. The Governor made the statement in his office in Buea, Tuesday, August 14, while briefing the press on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the handover of the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.

Bakassi, which both countries fought for, for several years, was finally ceded to Cameroon on August 14, 2008, after the International Court of Justice, ICJ, ruled in favour of Cameroon in 2002. The Governor was also having a real first meeting with the press after he took over the baton of command from Koumpa Issa several months back. He briefed the press after holding a meeting with top security officials of the Region.

“The situation in the entire Bakassi and the whole of Ndian is calm. Everything is fine and people in the area are going about their activities normally. I am not informed of anything except it happened out of Bakassi,” the Governor said. The declarations of the Governor came barely a week after widespread reports claimed that Nigerians in Bakassi had declared their independence, hoisted a flag and launched a radio station.

Governor Okalia, however, assured journalists that Bakassi is 100 percent secured.

 “Nobody can hoist a flag in Bakassi. Bakassi is 100 percent secured. Since January 2012, there has been no incident in the area. Economic activities have regained steam in the area. There is pacific co-habitation between Cameroonians and Nigerians in Bakassi,” he said.

Okalia, who said he has undertaken several trips to Bakassi since he became Governor, addressed what has become a routine worry by most Cameroonians; that the Yaounde administration has neglected Bakassi since the area became Cameroon’s on August 14, 2008. He said Government has carried out a lot of investments in Bakassi and that State administration is functioning well in the area. Cameroonian administrators, he said, are administering the people on a daily basis, while Government has total control of the entire Bakassi.

The Post learnt that Government has already invested a circa FCFA 40 billion in the peninsula, but these investments are not visible due to the enormous challenges Government encounters in carrying out construction works in Bakassi. Meanwhile, the Governor contradicted generalised views that preparations for imminent Reunification celebrations in Buea are stalled, when he said the preparations for the event are going on well.

“Preparations for the Reunification celebrations are going on well. Construction works on the road from Limbe to Buea was recently launched. Repairs at the two State hotels; the Parliamentary Flats and the Buea Mountain Hotel, are more the 50 percent done. Recently, the military from Yaounde were here and visited the Independence Square where houses opposite the grandstand will be demolished,” he explained. The briefing, attended by reporters of both the public and private media, was moderated by Southwest Communication Delegate, Chris Eno Oben.

By Ernest Sumelong & Tatiana Ngwa

Source: The Post 

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