Nigeria’s security personnel successfully dispersed suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who hoisted the Biafra flag at ‘Welcome to Bakassi’, the entry route to the Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The IPOB men were reported to have attacked a handful of security men who were stationed at the entry point and also harassed residents of the area on Wednesday.
Residents said the suspected IPOB members had stormed the area, chased away security men, and hoisted their flag.
Chairman of Bakassi LGA, Iyadim Amboni Iyadim confirmed that a combined team of soldiers, policemen and DSS were immediately deployed.
“Security men have successfully dispersed the suspected IPOB men, removed the Biafra flag and restored order”, he said.
Speaking with journalists, Iyadim said: “By hoisting the Biafra flag, the boys may not know the consequences of their action. Some of these boys are ignorant, some are used by external forces. We have made them know that we are not taking their matter lightly. Security men have been deployed to the area. In fact, we have placed a temporary curfew in the LGA from 7 pm.”
He lamented the deteriorating security situation in Bakassi, saying it is compounded by the non-resettlement of the Bakassi people and the government’s failure to fulfill its promise to ex-Niger Delta militants who downed their tools and embraced amnesty.
According to him, the federal government had asked the agitators to down their weapons and embrace amnesty, disclosing that more than 500 surrendered.
He said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the state government picked nearly 160 and trained for life support.
“The remaining ones don’t know when would be their turn and something is not also done to sustain them. So it’s difficult to stop them from harassing people to collect their valuables. Something should be given to them.
“We have done everything to curtail the activities of these boys. We used operatives to arrest them but the problem will never be stopped by that approach.” He said.
He disclosed that he himself has not been able to go to work due to fear for his life.
“The situation is so bad that I have not gone to work for the past one year because the council headquarters was completely raised down last year by people who are very disgruntled with the government. They burnt down the police station, brought down every government institution in the local government.
” As I speak, for more than one year I’ve not gone to work. I only work skeletally.
“Government should please come to my aid. We will not be able to remove these people from the local government without deliberate effort. The governor of Cross River State is trying his best but other people may join.
“Bakassi problem is a big one. Till today, there is no resettlement for the people. These is no compensation for the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon”.