20 September 2015, Uyo – Ex-militants under the aegis of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters in Akwa Ibom State have expressed displeasure that the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has not included them in the youth empowerment programme of the state government. Rising from a one day meeting in Eket local government area of the state weekend, the ex-militants give the state government one week to consider them in the empowerment programme of the state to be self-dependent or face consequent action. The spokesperson for the ex-militants in the state, Commander Ebong Friday expressed regret that the state government had neglected its members since they dropped their arms in line with the Federal Government Amnesty Programme about five years now.
The group threatened to disrupt activities in Ibom Airport, ExxonMobil as well as vandalise pipelines from Frontier Oil Limited (FOL) in the state if positive action is not taken by the government to carry them along. “It is very unfortunate that the state government is taking us for granted; we dropped our arms at the cause of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and choose to embrace peace. “The Akwa Ibom Government calls for Amnesty and we surrender our arms with an agreement that they will train us and integrate us. After we voluntarily dropped our arms to embrace peace so that we can achieve what they had promised us, they turn back at us.
“We went for training at Obubra LGA in Cross River State, and came back, since then there is no government response, any time we go to governor’s office they will tell us to exercise patience,” he lamented.
According to him, the essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on the livelihood on members and also to register their grievances to the state government.
Friday said the one week ultimatum given to the state government was to respond to their plight else they would go back to the creeks. He said about 950 members were yet to be integrated and documented in the Amnesty programmes, noting that several letters had been written to the state government with no response.
He called on the governor to revisit the earlier agreement reached by his predecessor in 2011saying the frequent way of turning them away might lead to unforeseen reaction.
*Okon Bassey – Thisday