… As Senator Gershom Bassey Vows to Take the Matter Up
Solidarity messages and visits have continued to flood the home of the Senator representing Cross River south in the Red Chamber, Sen Gershom Bassey, over the vandalization and burning down of his properties in Calabar by people who analysts believed hijacked the EndSARS protest last month.
They embarked on solidarity rally on Saturday to drum home their disapproval of the crage on Senator Bassey and demanded that the state government should set a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to unravel the remote and immediate reasons for why Sen Bassey and few others were targeted.
One of those who spoke, Professor Offiong Ani Offiong, condemned in strong terms the destruction with engulfed the city, saying the ruin meted out on the city was worse than what he witnessed during the civil war.
His word: “I am here because I am an astute politician in spite of having a stint in the academic sector. I had represented Calabar Municipality in the Cross River state House of Assembly. We were the first set of legislature that started in this part after Akwa Ibom was created out of Cross River state.
“I am also here because Sen. Gershom Bassey has been someone that has inspired a lot us from the beginning when we started politics as far back as 1998. From his father house he gathered all of us together. Unfortunately that place has been destroyed now, that place is a family house and I wonder why they had to destroy that place.
“He was one of those that nurtured the process that produced the first PDP governor in the person of Mr. Donald Duke, and he worked assiduously to also make sure that Imoke became governor. In all honesty, he wanted to become governor but it was zoned that the three senatorial districts must be captured as it concerns governorship and that is why it went straight to the Northern Senatorial district and that is how it happened and our current governor became the governor of this state .
“We are here honestly to sympathize with him, the destructions is enormous. I was a very young boy during the civil war and spent my time in Biafra. I saw the level of destruction but I have not seen anything so devastating like I have seen now, it’s so unfortunate but all I want to say is that there is time for everything.
“Gershom has passed through this fate like some other because there is time for everything and I tell you in no time we will get over it. We are sure we will get over it. As it stands now this particular incident that has happened to him will spur him up to greater height. I see him, without being in any way controversial, being the governor of Cross River state in 2023 with the will of God. W e are here to encourage him and all CrossRiverians .What happened in Cross River state was like a demonic attack and we pray that nothing like this should ever happen again.
After palliatives were taken and that was understandable, why go after government and individual properties again to destroy them, there was a lot of destruction within 6 hours.
We want to appeal to the youth, they should not be angry anymore, everyone has heard them loud and clear, and they have been heard very well.
In an interview, Senator Bassey said “people came to express solidarity with me over the attack on my house and also the attack on my family building. I appreciate them. My message for them is that tomorrow will be better than today.”
On the level of destruction in the state, he said “I have visited to see the level of it in Tinapa and CICC. I have seen one or two other buildings, I told them, the destruction goes beyond any protest or anything like that; almost a hundred building across the state had been hit within a period of about five hours or a little more.
“It was a planned invasion of Calabar, the capital city of the state. If you can have an invasion of that magnitude into Calabar, a territory of Nigeria, there must be a problem and it must be investigated so that we get to the root of it. We must know what really happened on that day and we must get to know those behind it. It was serious and I think that the destruction in Calabar is doubled what happened in Lagos.
“Calabar is the worst victim of the recent insecurity challenge in the country. It is important that the Federal government supports the state government in getting to the bottom of it so that it would not occur, ever again.
“I am calling for an investigation; be it judicial panel of inquiry or whatever kind. The state and federal government should decide. But this matter goes beyond the state government. The state must collaborate with the federal to get to the root of this issue.
“You can’t have an invasion into a city and in five hours, over a hundred buildings were attacked and destroyed. There is a problem and something has really happened. It was planned, it was premeditated and Calabar was the target, not Gershom Bassey. Calabar was the target. So we need to get to the root of it.
“At the national level, I intend to take it before the floor of the senate as soon as we resume. At the moment we are working on the budget. I will take, by way of a motion, before the floor of the senate. I will call for a massive investigation, and all security arms and agencies must be involve and they must root out who planned this thing against Calabar? 100 buildings in Calabar, no! Something is wrong. It’s a serious problem.”