Monday, 21 September 2015

Ex-militants urge Gov. Emmanuel to empower members

Ex-militants urge Gov. Emmanuel to empower members
* Threaten to disrupt activities in Akwa Ibom Airport, ExxonMobil
Bakassi freedom fighters in Akwa  Ibom have urged the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel to include its members in the youths empowerment programme of his administration.

The Spokesperson of the group, Commander Ebong Friday made the call at a meeting in Eket Local Government Area on Friday when he expressed that the state government has failed its members.
He said that the state government has neglected its members since they dropped their arms for the Federal Government Amnesty Programme sometimes ago.

The Group have also threatened to vandalize pipelines from Frontier Oil Limited (FOL) and disrupt activities in the State Airport as well as ExxonMobil.
“It is very unfortunate that the state government is taking us for granted; we dropped our arms at the course of the Presidential Amnesty Programme and chose to embrace peace. The government called for amnesty and we surrendered our arms on the agreement that they will train and integrate us. After we voluntarily dropped our arms to embrace peace, they turned their backs at us’’ he explained.

He lamented that since 2011 when its members dropped their arms, the state government has not taken them into consideration. “When we dropped our arms and got amnesty from the former governor of the state, we have been neglected”.

“We went for training at Obubra and came back but there was no response from the government. Anytime we go to the Governor’s office, they will tell us to wait and exercise patience” he said.
He said that the essence of their meeting was to brainstorm on the livelihood of its members and also to register their grievances before the state government.

Friday announced that the group is giving the state government a one-week ultimatum to respond to their plight else, they would go back to the creeks.

He noted with dismay that about 950 of its members were yet to be integrated and documented in the Federal Government Amnesty programme.

He also noted that several letters have been written to the state government to come to their aid but none has been responded to; adding that the government has been turning them off.

He however called on Gov. Emmanuel to revisit the earlier agreement reached by his predecessor in 2011.
“I want Gov. Emmanuel to revisit the earlier agreement done by his predecessor, because they gave us adamant hears, we have so many people we are catering for. They would have allowed us to continue in the creeks, instead of bring us to the world and abandoning us,’’ Friday said.

He appealed to the State Government to integrate its members in the present youth’s empowerment programme.

“About 100 youths were taken to Israel for Agricultural training, 150 standing by Car Assembly Programme and 1,000 are being trained on Oracle Certification Training in ICT, we want them to integrate us in this programme. If we try all avenues and nothing is done, we will be forced to do otherwise. If the government is ready to cooperate with us, we are also ready to cooperate with them. What we are looking for now is integrate us, empower us and make us relevant in this state because we are all from Akwa Ibom,’’ he said.

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