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Gov Ayade Grants Amnesty To Bakassi Strike Force

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Determined to ensure peace and safety along the state’s creeks and waterways, 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.

Addressing the ex-militants at Ikang, headquarters of Bakassi local government area, Governor 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 Muhammadu 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. 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: “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. This has gone on without the correspondent commitment and concern from the federal government.”

According to the governor, “Naturally, when all avenues for negotiations have failed, people are forced to attempt alternative methods of seeking redress,” he said, regretting that the militants chose the wrong option in their attempt to draw attention to the plight of the people.

Ayade expressed happiness that the young men have now seen the folly of that decision and have repented.

“So I thank you for submitting to reason. I thank the Bakassi Strike Force, as it then was for coming out of hiding. As I look at you, I feel pain and a sense of shame, defeat as a governor that it took me this long to bring my brothers out to come join me to build the Cross River of our dream. We welcome you back home, and as we welcome you, we do so with all sincerity and every fiber of my being to respect all the terms of the memorandum of understanding contained in the agreement.”

While surrendering to the joint military task force, ex-leader of the now defunct Bakassi Strike Force, Benjamin Ene, said the amnesty represents freedom to his group.


https://leadership.ng/2018/12/18/gov-ayade-grants-amnesty-to-bakassi-strike-force-2/


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