BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Federal government has been called upon to provide Amnesty programme for ex-militants in Cross River state especially those who voluntarily surrendered their arms to embrace peace in the state.
Also, create a special fund for Cross River state to cushion the effect of destruction by hoodlums that hide under the #EndSars protest to cause to cause mayhem.
The call was made by the chairman of ALGON in the state, Hon. Emmanuel Offiong Bassey, while fielding questions from newsmen on the incidents of October 23/24 2020 across the country.
He said the call became necessary as the destruction in the state was worse than any other states in the federation.
It would be recalled that hundreds of ex-militants willingly gave up their arms in the state following a passionate appeal by the state governor Senator Ben Ayade…
Ever since then, the state government has been catering for them within its limited resources and as it is “.it is becoming a big burden for the state to carry hence the appeal for an amnesty programme for them “.
“Cross River state is the worse hit given the level of destruction and vanalisation especially in Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Calabar South local government areas These council headquarters were ithe worse hit during the protest. Everything in the council were destroyed, he added”.
The state need a special fund to cater for these category of people in our society. No magic can be gone by the governor to fix them back given the lean financial resources of the state.
He therefore called on the Federal government to as a matter of priority consider Ex-militants from Cross River State in its amnesty programme in order to give them a sense of belonging . We are talking about those that voluntarily surrendered. Amnesty programme will rehabilitate and keep them busy. Cross River state government alone cannot cater for their needs. We need Federal government assistance”.
Federal government, he said. should create a special fund for Cross River State to handle them as well as start the process of re-fixing all destroyed establishments”.
Bassey said “we should thank God for what happened on October 22/24 during the #EndSars protest and its attendant destruction and vanalisation of government and individual properties”
“It is not something that was planned today. It has been a long term plan to carry out this magnitude of destruction and vandalisation across the state. Who knows what could have happened it came when it was planned, he said “.
He said “when we went for on the spot assessment with His Excellency, Senator Ben Ayade to Tinapa and other places, I then realised that all revenue generating establishment in the state have all gone.. Why were these particular ones the target. I am still yet to fathom what their reasons were. It is on record that a core Efik or Ejagam man could not indulge in this kind of carnage and arson. It has happened and there is nothing we can do about it. I believe that we as a government and people have equally learnt our lesson. All hands must be on record to see how we can rebuild our state”.
“Tinapa Resort and Business Leisure was completely destroyed, Nigerian Chronicle news paper m gone and the International Conference Center gone. It was not a one day plan. Actually, something must have gone wrong. It is sad to note that the majority of the perpetrators are from outside Calabar.
He appealed to the media to always project the state in Gd light as the government is trying to industrialise the state. The governor is doing alot for the state by trying to change the narrative of being a civil service state to an industrialised state or hub of the country.
“As a successful business man, he wants to position the state in the same light of success. Not many people will see it now. The governor means well for the state. So I beg of us to present the state in a much more better light than what we see in the pages of newspapers”.
According to him, “the #EndSars did not originate from Cross River State. It is a nationwide protest by Nigerian youths who are demanding for the scrapping of SARS and good governance from government”. .
“What spoiled their protest was the hijack by hoodlums. They started well and their voices were heard and government listened before the issue escalated to something else, he noted.
They organised themselves in an orderly manner . For what they youths did I don’t think any sane man was against them. What does EndSars got to do with the destruction of Psychotic hospital and Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) etc?.
Tinapa and the International Conference Center (ICC), the state government is still owing alot to the banks . Today we are still imagining how our 76 oil wells disappeared.
We need back our oil wells. It will us alot. To cater for the Ex-militants is now a burden beyond the state to carry. We need the federal government assistance.”.