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Ex-Bakassi militants get COVID-19 palliatives

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

The Bakassi Strike Force ex-militants, who laid down their weapons in 2018, as well youths and women in Cross River state have poured encomiums on the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Barr Efiong Akwa, for donating bags of rice to enable them cushion the effect of COVID-19 in the state.

One of the former commanders of the defunct group, Victor Benjamin, who spoke while receiving the items, was very grateful, saying “We appreciate the effort of Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the NDDC for giving us this palliative,” even as he noted that “the Bakassi situation is a very sad one which needs to be addressed.”

“We have decided to let go of our losses for the sake of peace but the federal government should take over the situation so that generations yet unborn won’t choose the path of arms struggle.

“we plead with our brother, the minister of Niger Delta, to look into the situation also and help us plead with President Muhammadu Buhari to do something about the issue of Bakassi.

According to him, “the Amnesty that we did in 2018 was with the federal government in collaboration with the state government that promised to look into our situation and we voluntarily laid down our arms. Since that time, the stipend has not been paid and we have not been captured in the Presidential Amnesty Programme.”

Coordinator of the palliatives distribution in Cross River, Orok Duke, who spoke while distributing the palliatives, said it wouldn’t have been nice if the ex-Bakassi Strike Force members were not included.

“Here we have the last group, which is the ex-Bakassi Strike Force members, who have disarmed and have joined the state amnesty programme and are still waiting for the promises made to them to be fulfilled. The COVID-19 affects everybody and we are here with them to give them the little palliative to survive the pandemic in other to wait for the promises made by the federal government.

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