In Akwa Ibom UN, Boundary Commission begins re-integration of displaced Bakassi returnees

Ukweni, however, regretted that during the ICJ Ruling, Nigerians living in Bakassi were affected and displaced.

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The United Nation (UN) Consultants and the National Boundary Commission on Tuesday said the re-integration of Displaced Bakassi Returnees (DBR) in Akwa Ibom had commenced.

Mr Marcel Ukweni, the Zonal Liaison Officer of the commission, South South Zonal Office, stated this in a meeting with the returnees in Eket Local Government Area of the state.

He said that United Nation Inter Agency had begun need assessment mission to people who were affected by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment.

Ukweni, however, regretted that during the ICJ Ruling, Nigerians living in Bakassi were affected and displaced.

``The team is in Akwa Ibom as a result of ICJ judgment implementation as regarded Nigerian, Cameroun International Boundaries.

``As a fall out of that judgment, United Nation Inter Agency conducted need assessment mission concerning the people that was affected by the implementation of the ICJ judgment,’’ Ukweni said.

He explained that the aim of the meeting was to enable the UN to come out with a final project designed to aid the re-integration of DBR into the society.

``In conducting the need assessment mission, three sectors of Nigeria are sample in the states of Adamawa, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

``The main reason for the assessment was to see our best our people that were affected by the ICJ ruling could be reintegrated back into the society,’’ the liaison officer said.

He said UN had appointed consultants to look at five key areas of intervention of the DBRs in the state.

According to him, the intervention areas are Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Capacity Building, Skill Acquisition, Sustainable Energy and Small and Medium Enterprise.

He, however, lamented that some DBRs may had died since the assessment was carried out last since 2011 and now in the state.

``The team of consultants is here to rub minds with you, ask you questions on what you want and as they ask you, we believe you will give good answers to what you want,’’ Ukweni said.

He commended the people for coming out en-mass and said the Bakassi plight would be taken to UN for considerations.

Speaking on behave of the consultants, Mr Ayokanmi Wright, Small and Medium Enterprises and Livelihood Consultant for the UN, stressed the need to resettled the DBRs in the state.

``There is a need to see the Displaced Bakassi Returnees to have something doing that can sustain their means of livelihood through micro finance so that they can be empowered,’’ Wright said.

He noted that meaningful resettlement would be given to the DBRs, adding that source of income would also be given to them to be self-reliant.

``We want to see that the Bakassi Returnees have the enabling financial ability to carry out their businesses,’’ he said.

Wright said that the team came to conduct base line survey to find out the needs of the DBRs in the state.

He said that the facts and reports would be collated so that the Federal Government would provide an Action Plan for a possible solution.

``So, that there will be a tremendous change in the life of the Bakassi Returnees and re-integrating the people back to their normal status,’’ Wright said.

Also speaking, Mr Frank Archibong, the Transitional Chairman of Eket commended the UN team and National Boundary Commission for bringing succour to the DBRs.

He promised to donate land to the UN consultants to execute projects for the returnees while expressing hope that the team would alleviate suffering of the DBRs in the state.

He regretted that the camp where the returnees stayed in Eket local government area is in deplorable condition.

The DBRs said that they need real integration of their members, empowerment, accommodation and skill acquisition programme for their members, among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Nigeria was displaced as a result of a judgment by the ICJ on Nov. 22, 2007.

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