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Cross River To Sue FG For N3 Trillion Over Bakassi

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Bakassi people

Peeved by the lack-lustre handling of the resettlement of the Bakassi people years after the October 10, 2002 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling, which ceded the oil-rich peninsula to Cameroon, the Cross River State government is readying a mouthwatering N3trillion suit against the Federal Government.

Besides, the state wants to be compensated in perpetuity for the loss of Bakassi, and the consequent loss of 76 oil wells to neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, a development that has left it with skint finances.

Twelve years after that landmark verdict, the distraught people are particularly irked by the fact that despite a groundswell of promises made by the Olusegun Obasanjo-led government to resettle them at a befitting location, which would support their lifestyle and occupation, as well as the interest shown in the matter by the international community, they are still living as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in different camps, with scant attention from the Federal Government.

Consequently, they are also considering suing the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which they believe did not follow due legal process in arriving at the verdict.

Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Aliyu Mohammed, during a recent visit to the state, said as part of efforts to assuage the pains caused by the ruling, about N38b has been paid as special allocation to the state by the Federal Government over a period of 11 years, as compensation for the loss of Bakassi and by extension the wells.

But the state government insists that this amount was grossly inadequate, considering the enormity of the dislocation suffered by the people, and the attendant economic loss to the state.

Chief Press Secretary/ Special Assistant on Media to Governor Ben Ayade, Christian Ita, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian said the state was not satisfied with such a paltry sum.

He said: “We have 12 months in a year, so multiply that by 11 years and divide it by N38b, that is when you will know whether that money was meant to achieve anything or not. By the time you finish the calculation per month, you would know that the amount would have become pittance. It is nothing. We are thinking that we should be compensated in perpetuity; we should be compensated heavily. I know that the governor is even considering taking the Federal Government to court to ask for over N3trillion damages over the loss of Bakassi Peninsular and its oil wells because no laid down procedure in international law was followed in ceding the area.”

Ita, who said the ceding of Bakassi was an issue between two sovereign nations- Nigeria and Cameroon, and Cross River State had no hand at all added, “Even when you look at the Green Tree Agreement, it has nothing to do with Cross River State, so there is no need to beg the issue because I think we are begging the issue. The truth of the matter is that the little element of comfort that the people of Bakassi are enjoying is coming from the state government even after the state suffered what can be described as double jeopardy. After the peoples’ land was ceded without their consent, the state also lost over 70 oil wells as a consequence, and it is the same Cross River State, which now has less money that is being left to cater for the wellbeing of the people.”

He stressed: “Is there no justice in the land anymore?”

Counsel to the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), a militant group in the area, Ozinko Ozinko, also threatened that the group would sue the ICJ on behalf of the Bakassi people saying, “If care is not taken in this matter, this will be the first matter that we will even be suing the ICJ. They are not sincere. There are lots of interests and politics that come to play at international level. With the new evidence we have, it is clear that the judgment was obtained by fraud. When you obtain judgment by fraud, it is one of the grounds that one can appeal.”

The counsel added that: “Consent of the direct parties in the matter was not obtained. The direct party in this circumstance is the Bakassi people. In law, we have proper parties, nominal parties, desirable parties and necessary parties. So which of the parties did they give the judgment against? As far as we are concerned, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo went there to sign that document, he was only a nominal party. We are serious about it. If you check the treaty, you will see. We will approach the court of law and we will test our ammunition there.

“The militants have their ammunition, but in the court we have our own ammunition. The fact that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) refused to act does not mean that all hopes are lost. All hopes are not lost. Bakassi is still one of the 774 local councils listed inside the First Schedule, Part One of our constitution. It has not been amended, so the treaty cannot come and redefine, or bind our court when it is not yet law by Section 12 of the constitution. And by Section One, the supremacy clause of the constitution says that, this constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all persons and authorities throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The constitution is supreme.

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Inside Nigeria

Buhari Approves Re-Organisation Of Nigeria Police, Decentralized Force CID And Creates New Formations

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the re-organization of the Nigeria Police Force and the creation of a new unit among other structural changes.

In a May 27 police circular signed by the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu, it was gathered that the Nigerian President approved the detachment of the Force Intelligence Bureau from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, so it can become a full-fledged department. He also approved the decentralisation of the FCID, with two new additional annex offices in Enugu and Gombe respectively for criminal cases emanating from the south-south and south-east zones and the north-east zone.

There are now 8 departments in the Police Force and four annexes. Each annex will be headed by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police who will be reporting to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police heading the FCID at the headquarters in Abuja.

IGP Adamu Mohammed who disclosed that the restructuring is aimed at fully integrating “intelligence-led policing strategy into the Community Policing initiative in addressing the threats that the dynamics of crimes pose”, also announced the creation of five additional Zonal Commands.

They include Ondo/Ekiti Commands with the headquarters in Akure; Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Commands with the headquarters in Awka; Bayelsa/Rivers Commands with the headquarters in Yenagoa; Yobe/Borno Commands with the headquarters in Maiduguri; and Katsina/Kaduna Commands in Katsina.

The statement added;

“In order to enhance the capacity of the four premiere Police Colleges in Kaduna, Ikeja, Maiduguri and Orji River towards meeting the training and capacity development projection of the Force in relation to junior cadre officers, Mr President approved that the status of the commandants of the colleges be upgraded to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police.

“This will strengthen administration, enhance the commitment of staff, and engender higher level of discipline and the quality of training at the colleges.

“These approvals were granted by the President in furtherance to the need to expand and strengthen the intelligence department to aid in the entrenchment of the community policing practice as approved by the Federal Government.”

President Buhari who is the chairman of the police council which includes 36 state governors, is now expected to summon a meeting of the council to ratify the reorganisation.

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Inside Nigeria

Buhari Writes House Of Reps, Seeks Approval To Borrow $5.513bn

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Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the House of Representatives seeking its approval to borrow $5.513 billion.

The President, in the letter read by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the resumption of plenary on Thursday morning, April 28, said the loan will be used to finance the 2020 budget deficit, critical projects, and to also finance projects to support some state governors.

The loan request has been referred to the House Committee on loans and Debt for consideration.

The National Assembly had recently approved a loan of N850bn for the Federal Government, while another of $22.79bn, which the Senate has already approved, is pending before the House.

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Inside Nigeria

Nigeria Records 389 New Cases Of Coronavirus, Total Now 8733

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389 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Wednesday, May, 27, 2019.

According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, 256 cases were recorded in Lagos, 13 in Katsina, 23 in Edo, 22 in River, 14 Kano, 13 in Adamawa, 11 in Akwa Ibom, 11 in Kaduna, 7 in Kwara, 6 in Nasarawa, 2 in Plateau, 2 in Abia, 2 in Delta, 2 in Benue, 2 in Niger, 2 Kogi-2 in Oyo, 2 in Imo, 1 in Borno, 1 in Ogun, 1 in Anambra State.

In total, Nigeria has recorded 8733 cases of COVID-19. 2501 patients have been discharged from various Isolation centers across the country, while 254 deaths have been recorded.

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