No fewer than 100 Bakassi agitators on Monday blocked the Cross River Governor’s Office in Calabar, the state capital, to protest against the non-payment of their allowances by the state government since 2018.
The agitators were mostly from the former Bakassi Strike Force based in the Bakassi Local Government Area.
The agitators, who stormed the governor’s office about 8am, wore black trousers on black T-shirts and barricaded the gate preventing workers from entering the premises.
The main gate of Cross River Governor’s office was attempted to be pulled down, but some of them intervened and prevailed on their colleagues not to be violent.
One of their leaders, popularly known as Timaya, told journalists that they were protesting the non-payment of their allowance since December 2018 and are not going anywhere until the governor settles them.
“Since 2018 the governor has reneged on agreement after we laid down our arms in December 2018. After we surrendered, we went for training and the governor promised that we were going to be given starter packs and be integrated into the system.
“Instead of fulfilling his promise, the governor went and put up a sign-post in Bakassi to say, he has paid us. He has since refused to attend to us and we are very angry,” Timaya said.
However, the Permanent Secretary Special Services (security) Governor’s Office, Dr Alfred Mboto, pleaded for more time to enable government to sort out their grievances.
"The state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, is working on their case and would call for a meeting with their leaders,” he said.
Meanwhile, the counsel to the ex-agitators, Ozinko Ozinko, affirmed that the government had failed to keep to their own part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed that made them lay down arms.