Senate excoriates FG, authorizes probe into death of 97 Nigerians in Bakassi


Weeks after 97 Nigerians were reportedly killed by Cameroonian gendarmes in Bakassi Peninsula, the Senate has commenced moves to probe the circumstances surrounding the attack.
The upper chamber has also called on the Federal Government to come up with a clear policy to protect her citizens living outside of the shores of the country.
Similarly, the Red Chamber wants Cameroonian Government to respect the provisions of the Green Tree Agreement (GTA) signed between both countries on the 12th of June, 2006.
The GTA pact signified the withdrawal of Nigerian troops and the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.
The position of the Senate, followed a motion sponsored by Rose Oko who is representing Cross River North Senatorial District. She called the attention of her colleagues to the plight of Nigerians who she said had become foreigners in their own ancestral land in the hands of Cameroonian gendarmes.
Few weeks ago, about 97 Nigerians were feared to have been killed in a wave of attacks by Cameroonian gendarmes over failure to pay a levy of N100,000 for boat and fishing rights.
Many of the victims of the attacks were from Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ondo States.
Oko called on the Senate to investigate the cause of the flght which resulted in the death of Nigerian citizens, pointing out that the action of Cameroonian authorities clearly violated agreement article 3(2) e and f of the GTA.
Oko said: “I am alarmed at growing discriminatory treatment of Nigerians in Diaspora often leading to deaths as has been the case in South Africa and indeed the Cameroons since the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula.
“Indeed, Nigerians in Diaspora in the Bakassi had suffered attacks leading to death on several occasions in the past.
“If the Nigerian government does not come up with a definite policy of protecting its citizens, Nigerians in Diaspora especially in Africa and other regions will continue to witness growing xenophobic attacks, killings and harassments.”
Minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said the Federal Government has failed its citizens living in Bakassi peninsula.
He bemoaned the manner with which the Nigerian Government treats the issues of her citizens living in Bakassi area.
The Senate after the debate, ordered its committee on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs to immediately open investigation on the matter and report back in two weeks.

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