The Cross River State Police Command on Thursday thwarted plans by some ex-agitators who wanted to protest into Calabar, the state capital over non-payment of their allowances. Ex-militants, who were angry over what they described as levity on the part of the state government in terms fulfilling the MOU that was signed in 2018 before they dropped their arms as well as “surrendered” have become restless and many amongst them are feeling that their leaders have sold out too. The investigation also showed that they have been restless,as well as making necessary efforts to get government attention by every means including protest. On Thursday, they ( ex-militants)decided to march to Calabar from their location in Esighi in Bakassi local government area of the state but the planned protest was botched by police based on intelligence. The state command also dispatched a detachment of the Police to block them as early as 7.30 am at the Arab junction of Atimbo in Calabar Municipality. When contacted, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdulkadir Jimoh said the militants were aiming at taking their protest to the city of Calabar and Police got intelligence and had ensured that the protest does not take place at all. “We got information that the ex-militants were going to protest over non-payment of their allowances and we had to take proactive measures to prevent the break-down of law and order. My men are on the street to ensure that the state is safe for everybody.
“The agitation has become a recurring decimal and we got wind of the protest through intelligence, so we had to act swiftly, although we have also been having meetings with them all in a bid to forestall peace due process must be followed,” the Commissioner said. He nevertheless appealed to the state government to assist the police with operational vans to enable the Police tackle crime in the state. “We have been able to reduce crime and criminality in the state since I resumed office, but we need more operational vehicles to enable my men comb all nooks and crannies of the state,” he said. When contacted, Counsel to the ex-agitators, Bakassi Strike Force, BSF, Ozinko Ozinko Esq said it was quite unfortunate that since the MOU was signed in 2018 nothing has been done and many of the ex-agitators were not happy. He said:” Many of the ex-agitators feel betrayed by their leaders because they feel they have sold out by taking an appointment from state government and ignoring their demands as signed in the MOU before they “surrendered” in November 2018. “Although the leader, Benjamin told me that he is not aware of any protest by the ex-agitators on Thursday but appealed to government to look into the issue of allowances because a lot of the boys are not happy,” he said.