By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The Bakassi Strike Force has thrown its support behind the Federal Government’s initiative towards the security of lives and property of residents of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
To display their resolve, the group arrested two notorious criminals and their gang leader allegedly responsible for cases of kidnappings, armed robbery and other criminalities in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The leader of the militant group, Simply Benjamin, popularly referred to as G1, paraded the suspects who confessed to the crimes before reporters at the Calabar Beach.
The Bakassi Strike Force has always been blamed for the kidnappings, stealing and all forms of criminalities which were the order of the day in the once peaceful and serene city of Calabar in south-south Nigeria.
This led to the leader of the group, Benjamin being declared wanted by the Nigerian Army.
The group leader, however, said that contrary to claims by the military that they were involved in criminal activities, the arrest by his men has vindicated them.
“Fellow Nigerians, I greet you all. Let me use this medium to prove to the general public that allegations of kidnapping cases, armed robbery and community unrest, among other crimes that were labelled against the Bakassi Strike Force members are not true.
“I will like to emphasize that all these pockets of violence such as kidnapping, arm robbery and residential unrest are being perpetuated by one group led by one Jacob (deceased) which two of his group members are in my custody, with their names also in the wanted list of the DSS, Police and other security agencies,” he stated.
Benjamin said that his group had got intelligence report on a planned terrorist attack in Calabar on January 28, which they carefully followed up and consequently resulted to the arrest made.
“It was on the 28th day of January, 2017 that we had intelligence information that the group was planning another terrible mission in Calabar, which I knew that if they succeed in the operation, all fingers will be pointed at me and my group,so we had to confront them and stop them.
“In that process, there was exchange of bullets which led to loss of lives including that of their notorious leader, Jacob and the two suspects that we captured alive.
“They have given us a useful information and also taken us to their camps and hideouts which we set ablaze (while) two arms were also recovered from them – one pump action and one double barrel gun (with) catridges,” he said.
Benjamin further expressed the determination of the Bakassi Strike Force to work hand-in-hand with security agencies in the State towards fighting criminality to a standstill in Cross River State and its environs.
“It is on record that (for a) very long time, I expressed my willingness to work with both States and Federal Government of Nigeria. In that aspect, the ball is still in the governments’ court because for us, we promised the government and everybody that our group will not be involved in any criminal mission.
“So I still stand to let the general public know that if the government will like to cooperate with us and address our concerns, we’re ready to work with the Federal Government and the state governments to protect lives and properties in the Niger Delta region.
“I’m interested in dialogue with the Federal Government but the issue at hand is that like I said in my previous videos, that if the government wants total peace in the Niger Delta region: one; negotiations should not be made with political negotiators because sometimes, some of our political leaders play politics with everything.
“The Federal Government should look for a way to reach out to the main people concerned, the main people that bear the pains know what is happening, not the political leaders because some of them don’t know what is happening in the creeks or the entire Niger Delta region,” he said.
The suspected criminals, Papa Eso, who is also known as Aneneh, and Felix Okey confessed to the crimes and some other atrocities committed by them.
“We kidnapped a man at 8 Mile and a brotherhood woman. We go out of water to kidnap people; we come by boat and enter the water with them,” Aneneh said.
The suspects have promised to give useful information to the group and the state government on successful arrest of their colleagues who managed to escape during their last operation where they were nabbed.
The Bakassi Strike Force is made up of youths from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.