The Bakassi Strike Force, BSF, a militant group that operates in the creeks of Cross River State, on Tuesday expressed a desire to embrace peace if the concerns of Bakassi returnees are addressed under a scheme brokered by international mediators.
A leader of BSF, Simply Benjamin, aka “Humble Lion G1” in a telephone interview on Tuesday, explained that the grievances of his group had nothing to do with destruction of critical national assets.
The BSF leader expressed regrets that the Nigerian military had killed several innocent people under the guise of fighting members of the militant group.
He, therefore, urged the federal government to withdraw the military from his community as they were in the struggle for self-determination and posed no threat to national security.
Mr. Benjamin, who spoke from his camp in the creeks of Southern Cross River, said that unlike other militant groups in the Niger Delta, the BSF had no record of destroying oil installations and were not involved in molesting innocent citizens.
He also said 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 Benjamin, the Bakassi Strike Force had been agitating against the poor implementation of the Green Tree Agreement after Nigeria ceded Bakassi to Cameroon, which left Nigerians in the peninsular without proper resettlement.
“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 Green Tree 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.
“We have not resorted to destroying national asset(s) 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?” Mr. Benjamin said.