Government grants deadly militant group, Bakassi Strike Force amnesty

Cross River Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, yesterday, granted amnesty to the members of the dreaded Bakassi Strike Force.

Over a hundred of the militants who took up arms following the ceding of the Bakassi peninsular surrendered their weapons.

Governor Ayade’s amnesty gesture, which was the outcome of a collaboration between the Federal Government, the state government and the Operation Delta Safe was aimed at sustaining the state’s safe investment climate.

Governor Ayade addressed the ex-militants at Ikang, headquarters of Bakassi Local Government Area.

Ayade said, “I have a duty as a father to protect all citizens and a responsibility as a governor to ensure security of lives and property.

“Therefore, there is a complex relationship between my office as governor and my traditional role as a father. In the light of this, therefore, allow me the luxury to maneuver through such an agony that I have found myself today.

“It is totally unacceptable, no matter the circumstance, for any citizen of Nigeria who is not trained to bear arms to carry arms.

“To that extent, I wish to particularly thank President Mohammadu Buhari, the Chief of Army Staff and the Commander of Operation Delta Safe for making this event possible.

“We thank you for your patience, tolerance and understanding that despite your superior fire power to take them out, you have chosen to allow dialogue to prevail and in the process, you showed compassion, humility and that truly truly, you love the people of Bakassi and indeed, Cross River State. And by so doing, lives are saved and this is the real essence of governance.”

While not justifying the activities of the militants in Bakassi, Ayade regretted that “The Bakassi Strike Force, led by Benjamin Ene, who is from where we are building our deep seaport, though originally not designed as a criminal gang, became a product of agitation to draw attention to the painful and sad loss of identity, ancestral heritage and a means of livelihood, occasioned by the heartless ceding of Bakassi peninsula without a plebiscite or a referendum with the attendant loss of our oil wells, pain, hunger and suffering that has characterized the state since the loss.


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