Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has called on the Federal Government to adequately compensate the state for the loss of 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom and ceding of the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon in 2002.
Ayade made the call on Wednesday in Calabar shortly after been sworn in as governor of the state for a second term alongside his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu at the U.J Esuene Sport Stadium.
He said that in view of the losses, the federal government should begin the process of compensating the state using the stabilisation fund.
According to him, the loss of the oil wells and Bakassi has impacted negatively on the state’s resources as such the federal government should takes steps to address the problem.
“I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to please hear the cries of Cross River. We have shown so much calm and understanding because we believe that in the fullness of time, justice will be done.
“The federal government has to know what we are going through now. Even in jurisprudence it is very wrong to take the oil wells from a state with small oil and give to a state that has so much, it is unacceptable.”
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Ayade said it had become difficult to discuss the matter with the federal government even though “the Supreme Court has made it so clear that you must find a consistent way to compensate Cross River for the loss of their oil wells and Bakassi.”
“But let me use this occasion of my inauguration to tell the federal government that Cross River feel highly disappointed and hunted, and this makes me to wonder if truly we are loved’’, he lamented.
The governor also said that the state should be allowed to harness its natural resources and pay royalties to the federal government, claiming that Cross River has been abused and reduced to nothing in body, spirit and soul.
The governor urged residents in the state to join hands with him in his industrialisation policy targeted at creating a more economically viable state.
He promised to make the payment of salaries and gratuities a priority, adding that no project can be more meaningful than the welfare of workers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that among dignitaries in attendance at the event were former governors Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke, National and State Assembly members, and security chiefs. (NAN)