Some ex-militants who barricaded Governor Ben Ayade’s office and the access road into the government house on Monday has rejected a cash gift of N500,000 from a Permanent Secretary in the office of the Cross River State Security Matters, Alfred Mboto.
The militants were protesting the non-payment of allowance as promised by the state government.
During the violent agitation, the ex-militants almost pulled out the main gate to the governor’s office despite the presence of armed policemen and other state security officers.
The armed ex-militants had caused a scene at the protest, blocking government officials, appointees and other innocent road users from accessing the road.
A spokesman for the protesters, who was addressed as Timaya, said the group was angry at the non-payment of said allowances which was supposed to have been paid since December 2018.
The protesters who became more aggrieved after they learnt the governor was not available to address them insisted they were not going to leave despite the threats by security men.
“We are not going anywhere until the governor settles us,” the ex-militants chorused.
In a bid to douse the situation, Governor Ayade’s aide, Mboto appealed to the militants to give the government time to sort out the differences.
He said Governor Ayade was working on their case and would call for a meeting with their leaders.
He, however, donated a cash gift of N500,000 to the protesters, after more than four hours of pleading with them to vacate the governor’s office, assuring that government would again look into their grouse.
But in defiance, the militants rejected the money claiming it was too small a gift and continue their protest.
Our correspondent reports that the militants banged on the gates of the premises but the Police and security personnel present were instructed not to interfere and so did not act.
Another ex-militant said, “since 2018 the governor has reneged on our agreement.”
“After we laid down our arms in December 2018, 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.”
When privately contacted, Alfred Mboto, Ayade’s aide told our correspondent that he gave the militants the cash gift to fuel their vehicles in a bid to douse the situation.
”The amount I gave them is irrelevant, I noticed they came in hordes and in their buses and I only gave them the money as a gift to fuel their buses.