Ex-militants numbering about 150 from Bakassi, Akpabuyo and some parts of Calabar, Cross River State yesterday stormed Calabar in buses and motorcycles on their way to the governor’s office to protest alleged abandonment and non-adherence to the agreements by Governor Ben Ayade.
It took the intervention of the army and other security personnel to abort the vandalization of Margaret Ekpo International Airport. The ex-militants blocked part of the airport and major roads, harassing members of the public, creating tension in the city.
Some of them, who threatened to return to the creeks, accused the governor of reneging on his promise one year after they laid up their arms and embraced the amnesty deal initiated by the state chief executive.
One of the aggrieved ex-militants, Ekpe Eyo Ekpe said: “We are here to see Governor Ben Ayade because he was the one who promised to do things for us and nothing has been done for over one year.
If at all, we didn’t see him today (yesterday), we will do something that will pain him personally so that he can do what he promised us. He must do something. That is final.”
Speaking also, Etemma Asuquo, from Bakassi, stated: “The reason why we are here is that since we came out of the creeks in December 2018, Governor Ayade has not fulfilled what he promised us. He promised to be giving us stipends regularly as well as send us for training. But since then, there has been no training and stipends. In short, nothing has been done.”
He alleged: “The houses we were staying, the Army has come to burn them, kill our brothers and fathers.
“It is one year plus now, we want to know why we are treated this way, because we know people from Bayelsa State who came to Cross River and were captured as ex-militants are enjoying amnesty from the state.
“They are still paying them N65,000 monthly. So what is our own benefit for our land, for our oil well? Nothing for us, no school, no road, no company, no estate. He had promised to give us an estate when we came out of the creeks but nothing has been given to us.”
He added “Bakassi deep seaport not done, superhighway not done, yet we handed over our arms. If we wanted to sell the arms, we would have earned good money.”
Responding, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Christian Ita, said: “We have cried out as a state government that our resources are lean and we will not be able to shoulder that huge responsibility. We have done all we need to do with the Federal Government to be able to incorporate the ex-militants from the state, nothing yet from the Federal Government.
“The governor has been making several appeals and still appeal that ex-members of Bakassi Strike Force be captured in the Niger Delta Amnesty programme.”
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