The Biafra Nations League (BNL) may be creating additional duty for the Nigerian Navy and other maritime security agencies in Nigeria, as the group threatened to sabotage maritime security of Nigeria and Cameroon in the Bakassi Peninsula. The group cautioned the Nigerian government to handle the case of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, with utmost care. The BNL Chief of Staff and front line Bakassi Youth Leader, Linus Asuquo Essien, had in a statement warned that the group would sabotage Cameroon and Nigeria maritime security in Bakassi, and ensure devastating effects on the economy and security of both countries.
The BNL Chief of Staff had threatened that Militias in Bakassi loyal to the BNL would soon start intercepting vessels and apprehending all crew members onboard like they did in 2016/2017, in response to the renewed alliance between the Nigerian government and Cameroon in Abuja.
The last time the Biafra militants hijacked a ship sailing into Nigeria territorial waters in 2016, the Nigerian military had vowed to treat the Biafra militia that hijacked the ship as criminals.
The BNL berated President Paul Biya of Cameroon who through the country’s special envoy in Abuja, commended the Nigerian government for the rearrest of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader.
BNL, accordingly, vowed to take away Cameroon’s full sovereignty from the Bakassi Peninsula, warning that the group is prepared to resume violent uprising in the Bakassi Peninsula.
Biafra Militants had in February 2016 intercepted and hijacked a merchant ship from Benin Republic in the Peninsula, giving the Nigerian government that the only condition to release the captured vessel was the freedom of Nnamdi Kanu who was in detention then.
The BNL admonished that more ships may be intercepted and hijacked by the Biafra militia, telling Paul Biya to avoid making the same mistake of former President Ahmodou Ahidjo of Cameroon that cost the country a lot of economic misfortune from the activities of the agitators.
The Bakassi Peninsula has remained a BNL stronghold, who are now extending their coastal control to the Gulf of Guinea.
Though the BNL did not accept participation in the 2016 hijacking of the ship from Benin Prepubic, the has placed a ban on foreign vessels entering the Cameroonian and Nigerian territorial waters from the Balassi Peninsula before May 2021 in preparation of this year’s Biafra anniversary.
The BNL had urged all members to be calm after the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, indicating that the group will monitor the prosecution of Kanu in court before any action. The BNL, however, became obsessed with the perceived cooperation between Nigeria and Cameroon to wage war against Biafra agitators after the arrest of Kanu, who is facing prosecution for treasonable felony and terrorism.
The Nigerian Navy had successfully recaptured and freed the merchant ship, MT LEON DIAS, and its crew, from the Biafra militants’ hijackers without the government complying with the conditions given by the militants.
It was indicated that the ship identified as a chemical/oil tanker, was sailing into the Nigerian territorial waters with the Liberian national flag but was intercepted off the coast of Cotonou, Benin Republic, by the Biafra militants.
The Biafra militants had intercepted the foreign vessel on Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 12.39pm, and held the foreign crew hostage, threatening to blow up the vessel with the crew except Nnamdi Kanu was released within 31 days.
After recovering the vessel from the hijackers, the Defence Headquarters in Abuja had declared that the Nigerian military would treat the Biafra militants as criminals and saboteurs for hijacking the merchant vessel off the coast of the country.
The Defence Headquarters had indicated that the Nigerian Navy were trailing the hijacked ship and the Biafra militants.
The new threat by the BNL has not only generated tension on the Nigerian waterways from the Atlantic but generated the need for security alerts on the country’s coastal borders.