Construction of 5,000 housing units in Cross River State, Nigeria for the displaced people of Bakassi has started, with Governor Ben Ayade leading the groundbreaking ceremony.
Speaking at the site, Ayade stated that the project, which is funded in partnership with the Africa Nations Development Programme (ANDP), is an answer to the need for all people to unite and make life meaningful for the returnees. He said:
“The Bakassi people have been dislocated from their ancestral homes, denied the pleasure of worship and decent accommodation, reduced in want and in spirit just because they are not strong enough to fight back. I come as a child from that humble beginning to say that we must all come together to make a difference and that difference must start now.”
To show his commitment to the project, Ayade even announced that he will spend his birthday with these people who have been displaced by the government. He recalled his days in the Senate stating, “On the floor of the Senate, I cried for Bakassi people, God has given me opportunity to do something now as the governor, while I look up to ANDP, I look at myself most.” He also urged the citizens to maintain peace while pursuing the housing and infrastructure program that, according to him, would make Bakassi a city center where people will enjoy living in.
Aside from Ayade, ANDP Director General Amb Samson Omojuyigbe also offered his remarks during the ceremony. In his speech, he honored the government and Cross River State residents for their efforts in making the project a reality.
All in all, the ANDP project includes housing units, schools, hospitals, a market, a church building, a shopping mall, and a fire station.