The Bakassi Strike Force has urged federal government to withdraw the military from its community as they posed no threat. The militant group said they were in the struggle for self-determination and addressing the concerns of the Bakassi returnees,
BSF leader, Simply Benjamin, said the grievances of the group had nothing to do with vandalism of national asset.
He said it was regrettable that military authorities had killed several innocent people under the guise of fighting the group. He lamented that the military had been on his trail, despite offering to work with the government.
Benjamin, said that unlike other militant groups, they had no record of destroying oil installations. They were not involved in molesting innocent citizens.
However, he expressed a desire to lay down arms if the concerns of Bakassi returnees are addressed. This will be under a scheme midwife by international mediators.
Bakassi Group Wants Green Tree Agreement
In the same vein, Benjamin said his group had been agitating against the poor implementation of the Green Tree Agreement. Nigeria’s ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon has left Nigerians in the peninsular without proper resettlement.
“Our grievance against the federal government has to do with the way Nigeria ceded our ancestral land to Cameroon. This, without recourse to the feelings and rights of the people to self-determination.”
“Under the Green Tree agreement, there were steps to be taken to ensure that the fundamental rights of the returnees were protected. The government has not fulfilled its obligations under the agreement.
“We have not resorted to destroying national asset(s) like other Niger Delta militants because it does not make sense. If we destroy assets that yield revenue, how will the government get money to fund the projects we yearn for?”
JTF Intensifies Operation on Militants
Meanwhile, the Joint Military Force said that it has degraded the capacity of the group. It said it has also intensified operations to flush out members of the group.
JTF Spokesman, Olaolu Daudu, had in a statement said that troops raided the BSF camp on October 29.
“Troops of Sector 4 raided Efut Esighi forest and killed a notorious militant popularly known as Okon Iyo. Similarly, troops discovered the dead body of one militant who escaped with gun injuries.”
Meanwhile, troops also raided the compound of a suspect Otobong Sunday Essien, at Road 27 Resettlement Center Bakassi.
“A Motor Bike was recovered from his compound. In addition, troops intercepted a Passat wagon car owned by another suspect called “G1”. He is the sentry Commander of the group.”
He said that troops deployed at Ikang border while on patrol at Ikot Offing Ambai in Akpabuyo LGA in Cross River discovered militants’ shrine and also apprehended the Chief Priest of the group.