From AKPAN AKPAN Calabar
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has maintained that the injustice associated with the transfer of Bakassi to Cameroon fuelled militancy in the area, stressing that the act was unfair.
The governor maintained that the people have been displaced; all the mechanisms put in place to safeguard the welfare of the people like the Green Tree Agreement has not been implemented and the transfer of the territory was done without parliamentary approval.
Speaking at Ikang, while granting amnesty to thousands of militants, the Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade said although the activities of the militants were unacceptable to the government, the militants fought because “they watched as the graves of their ancestors were ceded to Cameroun.”According to the governor, the feeling of the loss of Bakassi, coupled with the non-implementation of the Green Tree Agreement, may have degenerated into arms conflict, noting however that the decision to take up arms against the federal government was counter-productive.
“Bakassi Strike Force came about because they watched the graves of their ancestors, their livelihoods and their land ceded to Cameroun. They felt the loss of Bakassi was unfair, the implementation of the Green Tree Agreement was not followed and it degenerated into arms conflict”.
Ayade noted that the decision of the people to take up arms did more harm than good and promised to fully admit them into amnesty despite their atrocities.
He said he would ensure that the welfare of the militants were taken seriously and solicited the assistance of the federal government for the successful implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the state government and the militants.
Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, warned the militant not to venture back into the creeks, “Because we will come after you.”
He appealed to the governor ensure that all the issues in the Memorandum of Understanding were implemented, “if the governor does not fulfil his promise to them, don’t invite me to pursue them.”
One of the kingpins of the militants, Benjamin Ene, aka G1, said they went into the creeks because of injustice was done to the Bakassi people, explaining that the ceding of the territory was in bad faith.
He, however, appealed to government and security agencies to see their actions as history and promised that with the implementation of the MOU will not return to the creeks.