Bakassi returnees in the Cross River State on Wednesday appealed to Governor Ben Ayade to pay their monthly allowance of N5,000 to save them from hunger.
The returnees made the appeal in Calabar during a protest to the state Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development.
Spokesperson for the returnees, Mr. Duke Bassey, said the monthly stipend had not been paid since 2013, adding that this has inflicted a lot of hardship on them.
"We were asked to leave our ancestral homes in Abana and relocate to Obutong in Ikang, because it had been given to the Republic of Cameroon.
"The government decided to be giving monthly stipend of N5,000 each to registered families, they also used to bring foodstuffs to us.
"But since 2013, they have stopped giving us anything. We cannot fish there and there is nowhere to farm; so, we are just left to rot. Our children can no longer go to school. So, we are appealing to the state government to resume the payment to avoid casualties," he said.
The protesters then asked for transport fare to return their homes from Calabar.
Addressing the returnees, the Chief Security Officer of the ministry, Mr. Egan Irebu, said the non-payment of their stipends by the state government was not deliberate, saying the state was facing financial difficulty.
He appealed to them to be patient with the government since they just barely got into office.
"The government is new; barely 3 months in the office. The new government has to be informed and we have sent a memo which he is currently considering. So, I plead that you should give him some time. I am sure that you will be paid as soon as the financial situation of the state improves," Irebu said.
Then he gave the returnees an undisclosed amount of money as transport fare to Ikang, the headquarters of the Bakassi Local Government Area.