Federal Government has been urged to reclaim the ceded Bakassi Peninsular from Cameroon. Making this demand last Friday in Bakassi, is a group known as Bakassi Strike Force, made up of over 600 militants, who said apart from not being carried along before, during and after the ceding, the indigenes of Bakassi have been neglected by the Federal Government and other local and international stakeholders.
Displaying heavy weapons on boats, members of the group also known as Esighi later marched from Bakassi to Esuk-Mba.
Members of the group brandished weapons such as sophisticated gunboats,Browning machine gun, rocket launchers, among others.
In his speech, leader of the group, General Simply, also known as Humble
Lion, said members of his group were ready to embrace amnesty if offered by the government.
He accused Federal government of marginalising the people of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states in the amnesty programme.
Simply, who read from a prepared speech, said, “The Bakassi Strike Force is an indigenous group made up of youths from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, totalling 642 foot soldiers.
“You will agree with me that Akwa Ibom and Cross River states are part of the Niger Delta region, yet we have been completely sidelined from the amnesty scheme and other empowerment programmes for the youth of the area.
“Yet it will interest you to note that it is in Obubra, Cross River State that the team of Niger Delta militants was hosted, when states such as Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Ondo refused to host the rehabilitation camp for the militants”.
He further said: “Again, the Federal Government took away our oil rich Bakassi from us and handed over to Cameroon. We as indigenes and habitants were not consulted before this was done, neither were there any constitutional resettlement process initiated for the displaced persons.
“To make matters worse, after taking over our land, the Cameroonian forces began to harass and molest our people. They even levied us with heavy taxation, which became entirely unbearable.
Giving reasons his group took up arms, Simply said: “When it became obvious after several petitions that the federal and state governments were not ready to protect us and even the United Nations, we invited our Ijaw brothers who were already in the arms struggle to resist the Cameroonian operatives, but unfortunately, they embraced Federal Government amnesty programme when it was offered and abandoned us.