From FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa
Another controversy is brewing in the Niger Delta region, as ex-militants are at loggerheads with the Amnesty office and the Joint Military Task Force (JTF), ‘Operation Pulo Shield’ over exclusion of some militants from the amnesty programme. The ex-militants in a statement signed by Commander Darikoro Suokoro, warned the amnesty office to include their names in the amnesty programme, or prepare for another oil war in the area, as they could no longer wait on empty promises.
They accused the leadership of the military for including fictitious names among the beneficiaries of the amnesty allowance. He said: “We went for the training at Obubra and came out successfully, we were asked to open an account in the Bank, where allowances were paid to us for three months and since then the payment stopped, the office could not explain to us till now. This is no threat. We will go back to the creeks to earn our living, as payment of our allowances is no longer guarantees of what we have learned.”
They warned that the Federal Government should bear any consequence as a result of their going back to the creeks, stressing that, they were ready to face whatever that might happen since they had sacrificed their life to that and would not be afraid of anything. But the JTF has dismissed as ‘misplaced,’ the claims by some ex-militants on the involvement of military officers in the alleged inclusion of fake names in the list of beneficiaries of the Amnesty programme of the Federal Government.
The JTF Media Coordinator, Lt. Col. Oyeama Nwachukwu in his reaction argued that the claims by the youths was faulty and misplaced, as it was an attempt to manipulate the public, alleging that military officers were influencing the amnesty committee on issues of registration and payment of approved allowances. According to him:” All they are doing is to earn public sympathy and attention.
But certainly, this is not how to go about it. The Amnesty commission is a government parastatal; completely independent of the military or the JTF and therefore its activities in the pursuit of its assigned role cannot be undermined by any military officer as alleged. I believe there are laid down procedures that guide the commission as it carries out its duties. The ex militants should address their grievances to the appropriate quarters and stop throwing tantrums at the military. We are not in charge of the amnesty.”