Resolved to guarantee harmony & wellbeing along the state’s watercourse & gully, Cross River representative, Prof Ben Ayade, yesterday, conceded pardon to the individuals from the feared Bakassi Strike Force.
More than 100 of the aggressors who waged war following the surrendering of the Bakassi peninsular give up their ammunition.
Governor Ayade’s pardon action was the result of a coordinated effort between the national government, the state government & the Operation Delta Safe which was proposed for maintaining the state’s secure for venture purpose.
Tending to the ex-aggressors at Ikang, headquarters of Bakassi local government area, Governor Ayade stated: “I have a duty as a father to protect all citizens and a responsibility as a governor to ensure security of lives and property. Therefore, there is a complex relationship between my office as governor and my traditional role as a father. In the light of this, therefore, allow me the luxury to maneuver through such an agony that I have found myself today. It is totally unacceptable, no matter the circumstance, for any citizen of Nigeria who is not trained to bear arms to carry arms. To that extent, I wish to particularly thank President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Army Staff and the Commander of Operation Delta Safe for making this event possible.”
“We thank you for your patience, tolerance and understanding that despite your superior fire power to take them out, you have chosen to allow dialogue to prevail and in the process, you showed compassion, humility and that truly truly, you love the people of Bakassi and indeed, Cross River state. By so doing, lives are saved and this is the real essence of governance.”
While not supporting the exercises of the aggressors in Bakassi, Ayade lamented: “The Bakassi Strike Force, led by Benjamin Ene, who is from where we are building our deep seaport, though originally not designed as a criminal gang, became a product of agitation to draw attention to the painful and sad loss of identity, ancestral heritage and a means of livelihood, occasioned by the heartless ceding of Bakassi peninsula without a plebiscite or a referendum with the attendant loss of our oil wells, pain, hunger and suffering that has characterized the state since the loss. This has gone on without the correspondent commitment and concern from the federal government.”
As per the governor, “Naturally, when all avenues for negotiations have failed, people are forced to attempt alternative methods of seeking redress,” he stated, lamenting that the activists picked the wrong approach in their endeavor to attract regard for the situation of the general population
Ayade communicated satisfaction that the young fellows have now seen the foolishness of there choice & have ask for forgiveness.
“So I thank you for submitting to reason. I thank the Bakassi Strike Force, as it then was for coming out of hiding. As I look at you, I feel pain and a sense of shame, defeat as a governor that it took me this long to bring my brothers out to come join me to build the Cross River of our dream. We welcome you back home, and as we welcome you, we do so with all sincerity and every fiber of my being to respect all the terms of the memorandum of understanding contained in the agreement.”
While given up to the joint military team, ex-pioneer of the now dead Bakassi Strike Force, Benjamin Ene, said the absolution symbolize independence to his gathering.