By Ike Uchechukwu
Former members of Bakassi Strike Force, BSF, numbering about 150 in the early hours, yesterday, blocked the entrance to the Governor Ben Ayade’s Office, in protest over unpaid allowances and government’s inability to fulfill the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, it signed with them since 2018.
Vanguard gathered that it took the intervention of some leaders of the group, who prevailed on their members that the gate of the Governor’s office was not pulled down.
Vanguard gathered that the ex-agitators mostly dressed in black stormed the Governor’s Office as early as 8a.m., unannounced and blocked the road, refusing vehicles to pass near the area.
The ex-agitators led by one “Timaya” created scenes despite the presence of Policemen stationed at both gates and the road leading to the Governor’s Office.
According to their leader, Timaya, they were protesting the non-payment of their money, which was supposed to have been paid since December 2018, but had not been paid till date.
“We are not going anywhere until the governor settles us,” the ex-militants chorused as the Permanent Secretary in Governor’s Office on Special Service ( Security), Dr. Alfred Mboto pleaded with them to allow the government time to sort out their grievances.
After more than six hours of pleading with the ex-militants to go without success, Mboto sourced for N500,000 and gave it to them, but they got angry and insisted they were not going to collect it.
An argument ensued which got Mboto angry and he left, only for some of the militants to hit severally at the gate with the Police as bystanders, before some of the ex-militants intervened and pleaded with their more vociferous colleagues to “stay action.”
Meanwhile, Mboto while addressing the protesting ex-agitators assured them that Governor Ben Ayade was working on their case and would call for a meeting with their leaders.
Some of them who spoke with Vanguard said the treatment by the state government was unfair.
When contacted, lawyer to the ex- agitators , Ozinko Ozinko, described the development as a sad one, noting that the government had refused to keep the MoU it signed with them in 2018.
He told Vanguard that since the signing the agreement, nothing has been done for them, adding that the training by ECOWAS/ EU was a welcome idea but urged the state government to do the needful.
On his part, Special Adviser on Amnesty to Governor Ayade, Mr Austin Ibok said that the training was in phases as packaged by ECOWAS/EU and all that was promised would be fulfilled.