The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade has offered to pay N200 million to compensate the people of Bakassi for the donation of 35,000 hectares of land to construct the proposed deep seaport.
Ayade made the announcement during a stakeholders meeting with traditional leaders of the area led by the Paramount Ruler, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet held at his office in Calabar capital city.
Visibly gladdened by the donation, Governor Ayade said, “we as parties have come together to say we will support the people of Bakassi local government area with a token of 200 million Naira for donating 35,000 hectares of land for the development of the Bakassi Deep Seaport.
“It is noteworthy to state that the deep seaport was for the good of Nigeria and indeed Africa. The 200 million Naira is not value for the land but a token as compensation.”
Recalling that in 2015, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised to tackle the loss of 76 Cross River oil wells and provide a lasting solution for the Bakassi people when he assumes office as President, Ayade appealed for the fulfillment of those commitments.
He said, “we look on to President Buhari to grant, as a matter of national urgency, a special sovereign guarantee to support us as we move to the final business with the commencing of the process of getting a core concessionaire, who will start the investment on the development of the port.
The Governor maintained, “Without a sovereign guarantee, we will have to stretch our intellectual money to its limits. We believe that President Buhari understands the plight of the Bakassi people, the security and strategic importance of the Bakassi Deep seaport, the need to have an alternative evacuation corridor as well as understands the sensibilities and challenges that have bedeviled Lagos in the last six months”.
The paramount ruler of Bakassi, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, alongside other traditional leaders, supported the proposed deep seaport project donation.
The paramount ruler stated that, “the land is all yours; it is for the Deep seaport project. We have given the land; all we need is the assistance of the Nigerian government to enable the project come to fruition”.
He enumerated the benefit that would accrue to the Bakassi people and Nigeria to include increased revenue generation on exports and employment opportunities.