…wants all embracive Amnesty programme
A militant group operating in the shores of Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, named, Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) on Friday condemned the continuous bombing of oil facilities by the Niger Delta Avengers group.
The BSF which has operated in the area for about a decade now with various leaderships in the past, expressed confidence in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government and called on the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to drop arms and get to the negotiation table with the government.
Looking daring themselves, the BSF members, clothed in camouflages and masks, displaying various arms and ammunitions at the Esuk Mba Beach in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State, said going to war will not be of benefit to anyone.
Leader of the group, “General Simply Benjamin”, said they were an indigenous group from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States totaling 642 foot soldiers.
General Simply Benjamin, said they displayed their arms to show that though they have enough weapons for a war, they believed that peace is the best option for the country.
His words, “I wish to appeal to the Federal Government and all those in position of authority to be mindful of their words as it can infuriate anger and set one against the other. We recently heard comments from the Federal Government as “We Will Crush them, and There Will Be No more Fresh Amnesty or in other words, No Medal for Criminals”. We are not saying criminals should be celebrated but we should take cognizance of the fact that Niger Delta challenges are unique and therefore should be treated carefully.
“While calling on Mr. President to look our way by extending an olive branch to us by way of amnesty and also rehabilitate our people and our land by ensuring proper resettlement of Bakassi people.
“We are ready to work with the government.
“Let me seize this opportunity to state in clear terms to government and all stakeholders that BSF is not part of the Niger Delta Avengers group. We do not subscribe to their objectives or pattern of operation.”
The Bakassi militant leader further explained that “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 side-lined 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 demobilization 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 to handed Cameroon.
“We as inhabitants were neither consulted nor was there proper compensational and resettlement process instituted. And to make matters worse, the Cameroonian forces after taking over our lands began to molest, intimidate and laden us with heavy taxes which became entirely unbearable.
“Therefore, when it became obvious inspite of several petitions that the Federal and State governments were not interested to protect us and even the United Nations, we invited our Ijaw brothers who were already in the arms struggle to help us resist the Cameroonian oppression. But unfortunately, they embraced the Federal Government’s amnesty 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.
“Having said this, I wish to appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers that crippling Nigeria’s economy is not the solution to our challenges. It is cheaper to make peace as war leads to more destruction.
“Fellow compatriots of the Niger Delta Avengers, please sheathe your swords and give peace a chance. I think you have made your point, hence you should give government chance to respond.
“Enough of the bombings please.
“Nigeria needs peace now more than ever.
“The government of the day needs peace to implement its promises. I call on the sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers to have a rethink of their actions.
“I also want to appeal to the Nigerian Security Agencies to please tread softly as two wrongs cannot make right. Let’s adopt the approach of the American Ambassador to Nigeria who implored us to use dialogue, as war alone cannot solve our problem. As you can see, I have enough weapons to go to war, yet, I believe war is not the solution. Peace is. I also appeal to all Niger Delta ex-militant leaders to support the Federal Government to change Nigeria for the better.”