…Fault amnesty process
From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The repentant Niger Delta warlords have faulted the amnesty process, alleging that it has been hijacked by people who did not mean well for the region. The ex-militant leaders also gave seven days ultimatum to the Federal Government to restore security in the country.
In a communique issued yesterday evening and signed by some persons including Commander Bestman Probel, the ex-militants speaking under the aegis of Niger Delta in Partnership with Social Restoration Foundation (SOREF), said they were not happy at the turn of events. “We hereby issue this communiqué to buttress our points that the whole amnesty process has been skewed.
We have been brainstorming on the way forward and came up with the following conclusion: “Amnesty process has been hijacked by persons who do not mean well for the youths of the Delta.
This is because most of the people who are being trained and empowered by the present amnesty committee have nothing to do with the struggle that culminated in the blanket amnesty issued by late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009, at least 80 percent were not part.”
They alleged that, “the members of the committee bring in relatives and friends and people they owe favour short-changing the real fighters. We hereby condemn this action and call for an independent investigation to confirm this.
“The few genuine fighters that have been trained have not been properly re-integrated into the society as they are training and not to be able to put food on their table or secure them gainful employment.
This portends grave consequences as the people have no other means of livelihood even as NDDC has vehemently refused to listen to the boys except some few leaders. We condemn this in totality because the Niger Delta belongs to us all and not just few persons.
“The foremost lieutenants in the struggle have not been trained or benefitted from the process so far. All attempts to secure such training have been futile in form of insensitivity on the part of the people handling the amnesty process.
“The committee only trained people to become artisans and low income earners. If you wish to go for a degree programme or masters, you wait without success even after fulfilling all requirements and passing necessary exams.
The question now is, do these committee members really mean well for the people of the Niger Delta? Do we remain poorly informed and poorly educated for the rest of our lives even after having this opportunity? “We therefore call on the Federal Government to take a critical look into the processes leading to such trainings to verify our claims and nip in the bud these evil practices going on in the amnesty office in Abuja.
“The process has been so mismanaged to the point that even the monthly stipend meant for the boys is being shared by most leaders and their accomplices in the amnesty office. They have their allowances being shortchanged by the same system that was meant to empower them. We have uncovered the syndicate whose specialty is to slash the monthly stipend of the ex-agitators.
We hope that our findings be properly investigated and punitive measures meted. “Lastly and most importantly, we wish to sternly warn all ethnic militias threatening the peace of the nation, especially the Boko Boys that ours was not an ethnic agenda and that all ethnic nationalities have the constitutional rights to rule this country.
“We hereby issue an ultimatum of seven days to the Federal Government of Nigeria to look into these issues raised to forestall the breakdown of law and order and sustain the peace, tranquility and the ambient business environment enjoyed in the Delta today.