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By Joe Nwankwo (Abuja) and Bassey Inyang, (Calabar)
Returnees of Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State Extraction have sued the Federal Government before an Abuja Federal High Court, claiming N30 billion damages over alleged acts of betrayal, leading to the loss of their ancestral home at the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun,
In a writ of summons and statement of claim filed through their counsel, Ukeme Ekpenyong, the plaintiffs include Bassey Augustine Efiong, Silas Clement Etim, Efiong Bassey Ekanem and Imaobong Edem Efiong (suing for themselves and on behalf of Bakassi Returnees of Uruan Local Government Area Extraction).
Also, the people of Southern Cameroun have given the Federal Government 30-day ultimatum to take immediate steps to comply with the Consent Judgment in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/30/2002, which directed it to take any measures as may be necessary to place their case for self determination before the United Nations General Assembly and any other relevant international organisation.
Cited in the suit as first to sixth defendants respectively are the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), National Assembly, Cross River State government, Akwa Ibom State government and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The plaintiffs are seeking the following reliefs:
• A declaration that the defendants acted outrageously, recklessly, atrociously and unconscionably in their handling of the Bakassi Peninsula hand over issue.
•A declaration that the defendants betrayed the fiduciary relationship between them and the plaintiffs by not acting in the best interest of the plaintiffs vis-a-vis the handing over of Bakassi Peninsula to the Republic of Cameroun.
•A declaration that the plaintiffs were vulnerable as far as the issue of the handing over of the Bakassi Peninsula by the first defendant (FRN) is concerned and the defendants took undue advantage of the plaintiffs’ vulnerability thereby recklessly inflicting severe emotional distress on the plaintiffs.
•A declaration that the failure of the sixth defendant (INEC) to register the plaintiffs in the voters register has deprived the plaintiffs of their voting rights both in the April 2011 general elections and the July 2012 local government elections.
•An order directing the first, fourth and fifth defendants to immediately provide basic amenities like schools, health centres, portable water, proper accommodation and means of transportation in the Plaintiffs’ new settlements.
•An order directing the sixth defendant (INEC) to immediately commence the registration of eligible voters in the Plaintiffs’ new settlements.
•N20 billion as general damages and N10 billion for exemplary damages.
Justice Mohammed Abubakar has fixed hearing in the matter for March 6.
Meanwhile, the people Southern Cameroun said the Consent Judgment stated emphatically that the self-determination should be in line with the geopolitical status of southern Cameroun as at October 1, 1960 when Nigeria became politically Independent.
They made their demand through their counsel, Okoi Obono-Obla, to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), urging Nigeria to immediately comply March 25, 2002 judgment delivered by the former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Rosaline Ukeje, which is in their favour.