Correspondence of CrossRiverDaily granted an interview to Mr Thomas Obi Tawo, (aka General Iron) who is the Special Adviser, Forest Security to the Governor of Cross River State in his country home of Okubushuyu, Boki Local Government Area on Monday, June 1st 2020. The Ex-gang leader of a Militia group in Boki/Northern Cross River State responded to questions filled by our correspondence on sundry issues. He is grateful to Governor Ayade for appointing him Special Adviser on Forest Security. He also bore his mind to recent happenings in Boki including the just concluded Local Government Elections.

We bring you excerpts of the interview below.
CrossRiverDaily: Good day Sir! We are pleased to meet you in your humble home.
Thomas Tawo: You are welcome my good friends. Your journey must have been hectic, It’s my pleasure to welcome you to my home and to the land of Boki.
CrossRiverDaily: Thank You Sir. Can you you tell us a little about yourself?
Thomas Tawo: My name is Thomas Obi Tawo. A native of Okubushuyu in Oku/Borum/Njua Ward, Boki LGA. By God’s grace, I am the Special Adviser on Forest Security to His Excellency, Sen. Prof Ben Ayade, the Executive Governor of Cross River State. I was made Ambassador for Peace by the Cross River State Government in 2018 after the Amnesty Program which was Initiative of Governor Ben Ayade’s administration.
CrossRiverDaily: We heard you have been associated with a sort of gangsterism in the past. Can you tell us something about it and how the name “General Iron’ came about if you do not mind giving us these information sir?
Thomas Tawo: General Iron is a self imposed name when I was leading jungle campaigns against the government in Borum Palm Estate amongst other fairly and deserving privileges my people were deprived of. The struggle I led was in the shape of the Niger Delta Avengers or call them “Militants”. You must have heard of a certain freedom fighter in Boki some time ago called “General Iron” who withstood the government in Borum Palm Estate and chased away palm estate workers on allocations. You are speaking one-on-one with him right now. I have been labeled with all sort of bad names by outsiders who have no idea of what we were fighting for. I championed the struggle to fight for my people’s welfare and hey! They are so appreciative of this till today. My people knows I’m not a criminal like I have been unjustly touted, but I was once their freedom fighter and now, their peace Ambassador. We resorted to violent confrontations when we felt then as deprived Landlord communities, it was the only way out to get our own fair share from the millions government was milling from the Palm Estate. But that is in past now as I have turned a new leave from that life and now helping my community and government to bring calm and peace in Boki.
CrossRiverDaily: Sir, we heard of the recent unfortunate occurrence in your community of Okubushuyu where some persons allegedly accused of Witchcraft were burnt alive by irate youths of the community. Rumors peddled that you were the sponsor of that jungle justice. Can you tell us what you know about this incident?
Thomas Tawo: I am not denying the fact just like every other freedom fighter was mistaken for a very bad and dangerous person, I have been misrepresented for ills in the society that I know nothing about. I can’t deny or extricate myself from my past. But what is unfortunate and disturbing to me today is the fact that, despite turning a new leave, people are still attributing any violence that happens in Boki to me. I was at Katchuan Irruan on the fateful day when information got to me that a mob of Youths in Oku (this community) had caught some persons and set them ablaze after those individuals who are being mobbed had confessed to be responsible through Witchcraft for the dead of some persons that happened recently in the community. I hurriedly came down and stopped the Youths from taking the law into their hands warning them that, what they were doing was wrong and could be inimical to the whole community. If not for my intervention, something terrible would have happened. But I’m dazed to hear people accusing me from everywhere to be responsible for that irate mobbing. My friends, from the day I accepted the State Government Amnesty, I have always sued for peace. It was in recognition of my genuine change of character and my personal effort for peace that I was made an Ambassador for Peace. I do not make a mockery of this. Anyone pointing fingers at me for that unlawful action of the Youths and any other violence in Boki are riding on the back of cheap propaganda, mischief and falsehood. Oku community is in peace and will always be.
CrossRiverDaily: You are the Special Adviser Forest Security to the Governor. What does this State engagement mean to you sir?
Thomas Tawo: First and most importantly, let me seize this opportunity to thank His Excellency, the Digital and peace-loving Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Sir, Ben Ayade for trusting me with that critical line of duty. He has humbled me the more and has help me to accept responsibility as a trusted Aide in security matters. Thank you, Your Excellency.
Back to your question; this Appointment means everything to me. Frankly, I feel fully involved in the State’s working committee to contribute my own quarter for the overall realization of His Excellency’s vision for the State in the area of security. This is my highest Government Appointment yet, and I’m truly grateful for the opportunity.
CrossRiverDaily: Last Saturday, Local Government Elections were finally conducted in the State. What is your take on this?
Thomas Tawo: It is a welcome development though long overdue. But I thank the Governor for letting this to happen. He (the Governor) believes in grassroot development and the only way to achieve this effectively is having a local government administration in place. I congratulate Pastor John Ewa, Chairman-Elect for his landslide victory in the polls. I tell you the truth, Pastor John Ewa is a good man. He is a man of peace and very courageous. He is the leader Boki truly needs at this material time.
CrossRiverDaily: Its been a good time hearing from you Sir. Thank you for bearing your mind on the issues above. What is your last word today?
Thomas Tawo: I thank you my friends for presenting me with this opportunity to clear on some issues. I like to conclude by saying that, a peaceful land is a prosperous land. Boki needs peace to prosper. And I am available to help in the process of achieving that peace.
God bless Oku Community
God bless Oku/Borum/Njua Ward
God bless Boki LGA
God bless Cross River State
God bless Nigeria.

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