Bakassi Peninsula: Civil society seeks compensation for C/River

Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade

• Says alleged false age declaration by Ayade untrue

More than a decade after the Federal Government ceded the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, a civil society organisation  (CSO) has appealed to the Nigerian government to compensate Cross River State for the concession.

Mr Olufemi Aduwo, President, Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), made the appeal in a statement made available to the Nigerian Tribune, on Monday.

This was as the civil society leader described as untrue, an allegation that the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, falsified his age and date of birth.

Aduwo, a returnee of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board of Governors, specifically, implored the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to make available to Cross Rivers  State, an economic stimulus package in return for its sacrifice in respect of the ceded Bakassi Peninsula.

As a way out of the  current economic recession, he also advised the government to raise loans from the World Bank, rather than disposing the national assets as proposed.

He called on the government to be more coordinated in selling the vast and abounding socio-economic potentials in the country to delegates and investors at the October edition of the World Bank meeting.

Speaking on the alleged age falsification by Governor Ayade, the RMG president said his group investigated the issue and discovered that  the allegation was not  true.

“We took it  upon ourselves to investigate the allegation of age falsification  leveled against Professor Ayade, the executive  governor of Cross River State and we discovered  the entire allegation was not true

“We called on all discerning Nigerians to disregard the blind lies being perpetrated against the governor by a cabal which is desperate to unseat the governor for selfish reason.

“From available documents available to us, any suggestions that the governor  forged his age declaration is unreasonable and deserves to be laughed at. The governor’s age declaration, which he submitted to both his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and  the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), carries his correct date of birth, March 2, 1968.

“His driver’s licence,  voter card, current and old international passports, all carry that date of birth. His records in all the schools he attended, including the University of Ibadan and the Nigerian Law School, all carry that same date of birth.

“Mr Joseph Agi, (who made the allegation), is not in court about a forged age declaration. He is trying to capitalise on a simple error made by the governor’s special assistant on his nomination form, by writing 1969 instead of 1968. Neither dates make a difference to Professor Ayade’s qualification for the Office of the Governor.”