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Possession of arms by Bakassi militants threatens Gulf of Guinea countries

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar
03 June 2017   |   4:36 am
Despite pressures being mounted on the Federal Government over the offering of amnesty to militants of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), they still hold sway in the Gulf of Guinea...

Bakassi Strike Force

Despite pressures being mounted on the Federal Government over the offering of amnesty to militants of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), they still hold sway in the Gulf of Guinea, as they now possess a large cache of arms, posing a huge threat to about 28 countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

The people of Cross River State led by the official Rapporteur on Bakassi, Bassey Ndem had listed challenges facing the Bakassi people since the issue of militancy and the arrival of the military that has left schools in the area shut for some time now.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the weekend held a town hall meeting with the people of Cross River at the Calabar International Conference Centre, where Senator Liyel Imoke Summit Hills was confronted with the issue of granting amnesty to the Bakassi militants.

Ndem said the Gulf of Guinea was presently in danger considering that the BSF holds large and sophisticated cache of weapons in the creeks and the gulf.

Counsel to the BSF, Ozinko Ozinko had in a chat with The Guardian also raised alarm on the Bakassi issue saying if nothing urgent was done, the situation may get out of control as the BSF was a huge threat to the over 28 countries in the Gulf of Guinea and there was need to grant them amnesty instead of violent attacks that will do no one any good.

Osinbajo had deftly declined to make any commitment on the Bakassi militants, their activities and amnesty but promised to look into the issues, adding that the Federal Government was ready and willing to support any state government with lofty ideas to turn around the economy of the respective states.

He said the Federal Government promised to look into the issue of human rights abuses that were raised and noted that the government has entered into a commitment because Bakassi was “a big loss not just to Cross River but the entire nation.

“The people of Bakassi, I think that we have to look at the allegations that I have heard today and the violation of human rights. Certainly, we are going to look at that too,” he said.

Osinbajo pleaded with Nigerians for their patience as he declared that the current administration sincerely wants to do all that was planned and promised.

He noted that a lot of work was being done for which result would be achieved for the benefit of all, saying “President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision is for a country that will make provision for everyone.”

He stated that the Federal Government had continually supported the states to cushion the effect of the economic recession through a number of bailouts to support the payment of salaries and ecological issues, as well as giving out part of the Paris Club refunds to states.

Meanwhile, as a fall out of the clash between Navy and Police in Calabar, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has warned his men against any reprisals.

Idris said the present administration was committed to the welfare of the men and officers of the force and that families of the police officer who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident would be catered for.