Ita-Giwa Under Fire, Fingered In Relief Materials Scam

Austin Ibok, centre, flanked by Ani Esin, (to his left) and others, during the press conference

Self-styled Mama Bakassi, Florence Ita-Giwa has been fingered by a group, Coalition of Bakassi Indigenes, as being behind a serial scheme which has robbed Bakassi indigenes of tons of relief materials sent in by the Federal Government to cushion the deplorable consequences that have come with Nigeria’s ceding of the oil rich peninsula to neighbouring Cameroun.

In what it referred to as Ita-Giwa’s “dramatic session on Channels Television” last week, where she wept on camera and allegedly stated that relief materials meant for Bakassi indigenes were stolen from the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency warehouse by state government officials, the Coalition of Bakassi Indigenes, condemned in strong terms, “the falsehood and fraud that had characterized the entire Bakassi resettlement programme”.

The Coalition specifically said in a press conference held yesterday, June 12, 2017, that Ita-Giwa’s “attempt to bring the name and office of (the Cross River State) governor … into disrepute” by alleging the governor and some political leaders diverted relief materials meant for Bakassi indigenes, was to say the least, degrading and highly regrettable .

Police sources who refused to be quoted informed that when investigations into the matter were conducted, it was discovered that the said materials were stealthily removed and taken to the residence of one of Ita-Giwa’s protégé, from where they were shared among persons described as her loyalists. The Head of Local Government Administration, HOLGA, in Bakassi, was conspicuously fingered as playing a major role in the relief materials scam. A close aide of the former senator however disclosed that all of this is not true.

It was also stated at the press statement, read out by Austin Ibok, supported by Ani Esin, former Bakassi LGA chairman, Christopher Okokon, Gabriel Etim and Antigha Cobham that, “the creation of another resettlement camp at Akpabuyo, away from the original camp site at Ekpri-Ikang, Bakassi LGA, was instigated by Ita-Giwa to enable her and her cohorts take full control of the entire resettlement programme … For the past four years, no single returnee quartered at the resettlement camp in Ekpri-Ikang, has received any relief material, cash or even medical care from the Ita-Giwa led resettlement committee, as those in the camp are labelled as illegal returnees and left in penury… The senator rather preferred to create a false returnees camp at Akpabuyo to enable her perpetuate the on-going fraudulent practices in the programme, where rented crowds are arranged to receive visitors and government officials”. Returnees interviewed by at the Ekpri-Ikang resettlement centre argued that what seems to have been long sold the public as Dayspring community in Bakassi and referred to by Ita-Giwa as her ancestral home, is a non-existent location. Dayspring they insist is a marshy fishing settlement in Calabar South LGA, seasonally inhabited by no more than 1000 persons.

When exclusively spoke with Ani Esin, drawing his attention to the fact that it appeared Ita-Giwa’s defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, may be at the centre of the onslaught on her, Esin firmly maintains that, “our position has nothing to do with her defection to wherever. You have seen people with placards here and the message is clear, this woman must stop feeding fat from the plight of this people. She weeps on TV to prolong her serial scam and sincerely, this is very unfair”. Attempts to speak with Ita-Giwa were unsuccessful at press time.







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