- Display fire-power in Akpabuyo creeks
Bassey Inyang in Calabar
A group of militants in Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State in the Niger Delta region, operating under the aegis of Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) on Thursday evening urged the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to lay down their arms in the interest of the people of the area.
The BSF said instead of adopting violence and vandalism of oil installations, the NDA should embrace dialogue instead of war in resolving their grievances.
However, in making their call for peace, the over 640 -member strong BSF who were clad in camouflage combat uniforms and masks, spoke at Esuk Mba Creek, Akpabuyo Local Government of Cross River State, where they displayed their sophisticated arms and ammunition to buttress the point that though they have all the weaponry to go to war, they have rather chosen peace as the ultimate option.
Led by ‘General’ Simply Benjamin , the BSF said they were prepared to embrace the amnesty programme of the Federal Government, and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed.
Speaking to a select group of journalists who witnessed the exhibition of weapons, ‘General’ Simply, as he is fondly called, said: “I am simply General Simply, the Humble Lion, I am the leader of the Bakassi Strike Force, a brigade of Humble Marine Force. We are sometimes referred to as the Esighi.
“BSF is an indigenous group made up of youths from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States totalling 642 foot soldiers.
” You will agree with me that Akwa Ibom and Cross River States are part of the Niger Delta yet we have been completely sidelined from the amnesty scheme and other empowerment programmes aimed for youths of the Niger Delta. Yet it would interest you to know that it was in Obubra, Cross River State, that the demobilisation camp of the Niger Delta militants was hosted, when states such as Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo and Ondo refused to host the rehabilitation camp for the militants. Then again the Federal Government took away our oil rich Bakassi from us and handed it to Cameroon.
“We as inhabitants were neither consulted nor was proper compensational and resettlement process insitituted. And to make matters worse, the Cameroonian forces after taking over our lands and molest, intimidate and levy us with heavy taxes which became entirely unbearable.
“Therefore, when it became obvious, in spite of several petitions that the Federal and State governments were not interested to protect us and even the United Nations (UN), we invited our Ijaw brothers who were already in the arms struggle to help us resist the Cameroonian oppresiion. But unfortunate, they embraced the Federal Government’s amnesty when it was offered and abandoned us with our challenges. We had no other option as indigenous youths of the land than to rise to defend ourselves from oppression and injustice from Cameroonian forces.”
Further details later