The Honourable member representing Bakassi State constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Dr Ekpo Ekpo Bassey has condemned the alleged ceding of 35, 000 hectares of land for development of Deep Seaport.
Hon Ekpo Bassey who spoke with Lasgidi Reporters on phone on Thursday lamented the donations announced by the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet during a courtesy visit to Governor Ben Ayade.
Governor Ben Ayade had announced the payment of Two Hundred Million Naira as compensation to the people of Bakassi for the donation of 35,000 hectares of land for the development of the Deep seaport.
The governor announced the monetary compensation during a stakeholders meeting held at the state executive chamber, Calabar, with leaders and traditional rulers of the area led by the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet.
But Hon Bassey regretted the action of the paramount ruler, explaining that he has no land to donate to the government as where he came from was ceded to Cameroon.
“If Governor Ayade is interested in acquiring land in Bakassi, there is due process. You meet the people who are the owners of the land and then access what they have on ground and probably resources therein and other things and then you make provision for their relocation.
“These are the things that should be done. For one to surrender his or her land, he must be carried along and some of us critical stakeholders were not involved.
“Such an exercise needed to be done in a better-organized way than what they are talking about, you must engage critical stakeholders and then take steps to provide alternative accommodation. You don’t cede the land of the people the way Bakassi was ceded.
“Yesterday, I moved a motion in the floor of the House, calling on the Federal Government to pay compensation for the ceded Bakassi which was done in hurry in violation of section 12 subsection one of the constitution that says, no treaty or agreement will have the force of law if it has not been ratify by the National Assembly.
“That is why we are suing Federal Government in the first place for ceding Bakassi and calling for them to pay compensation for what we have lost. So you cannot come and repeat that scenario here, we have learnt from our past mistakes. The Paramount Ruler has no locus standi to donate land, you don’t give what you don’t have,” he stated.