We’re ready to surrender – Militants

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Members of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) based in Cross Rovers State has expressed readiness to lay down their arms and embrace peace.

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The military special unit, the Operation Delta Safe (ODS) under the command of Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, in several raids carried over out recently, smoked out the militants from their hideouts killing some of them and burning down their shrines.

In a twist, the group expressed a desire to lay down arms if the concerns of Bakassi returnees were addressed under a scheme midwifed by international mediators.

The BSF spokesman, Mr. Simply Benjamin (aka Humble Lion G1) claimed that the grievances of the group had nothing to do with vandalism of national assets.

He said it was regrettable that military authorities had killed several innocent people in the guise of trailing members of the militant groups.

Benjamin appealed to the Federal Government to withdraw the military as they were in the struggle for self-determination and posed no threat to national security.

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He explained that unlike other militant groups, BSF have no record of destroying oil installations and was not involved in molesting innocent citizens.

He disclosed that despite offering to work with the government to address the concerns of the Bakassi returnees, the military had been on his trail.

According to him: “BSF has been agitating against the poor implementation of the Greentree Agreement after ceding Bakassi to Cameroon leaving Nigerians resident in the Peninsular without proper resettlement. We are ready to lay down arms and embrace dialogue under a process to be brokered by the international community to ensure that the Nigerian returnees were properly resettled and rehabilitated.

“Our grievance against the Federal Government has to do with the way Nigeria ceded our ancestral land to Cameroon without recourse to the feelings and rights of the people to self-determination. Under the Greentree Agreement there were steps to be taken to ensure that the fundamental rights of the returnees were protected but the government has not fulfilled its obligations under the agreement.

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“We have not resorted to destroying national assets like other Niger Delta militants because it does not make sense, if we destroy assets that yield revenue, how will the Federal Government get money to fund the projects we yearn for?”

Meanwhile, the Africa Liberation Network, (ALNET), has urged the Federal Government to embrace an all inclusive, balanced and transparent dialogue with representatives of communities in the troubled Niger Delta region.

The pan-Niger Delta group in a statement by its coordinator, Eddy Macaulay insisted that it was only through an all inclusive dialogue that militancy could become history in the region.

Macauley condemned activities of militants including pipeline vandalism, even as he flayed leaders of the region for selling their place to militants, who now parade themselves as leaders of the region.

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He said the agitation of a few claiming to be speaking for the region should be reviewed to accommodate all the critical interests in the region, rather than concentrating on the conditions or negotiators given by groups such as the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) as the basis for negotiations.

Macaulay emphasized that any negotiation on behalf of the Niger Delta should involve at least a representative from each of the oil producing community.

The statement which commended the FG on the decision to open negotiations with leaders of the region, charged the region’s stakeholders to wake-up to their responsibilities by standing for what is right regardless of who is involved.

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