• We’ve paid till 2017 –Amnesty office
Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
About 3,642 former militants under the third phase of the amnesty programme have threatened to return to the creeks if the Amnesty office does not resolve lingering issues bordering on the non-payment of stipends and non-admission of real militants into the amnesty programme.
Chairman of the Coalition of Niger Delta ex-militants, General Para Ekiye, who stated this in a statement in Yenagoa, said the former militants affected by the shoddy treatment being meted out by the amnesty office are ready to lead a protest to Abuja to demand the sack of the coordinator of the amnesty programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh, if the amnesty office does not address their grievances.
Ekiye, who recalled that 13 days after he led a protest in August 2012 and 3,642 former militants from third phase were approved to be included in the amnesty programme, disclosed many of their names have been substituted to benefit from the amnesty programme, including trainings abroad, with the excuse that they do not have United Nations code.
He said there are ongoing meetings as many of the former militants are aggrieved and are ready to return to the creeks and paralyse oil production if the amnesty office is not called to order.
“The amnesty programme was introduced to stop the militancy activity in the Niger Delta region. It is not for a political appointee to come and mislead us. After I led a protest in 2012, 3,642 were approved to be members of the third phase but the amnesty office has mismanaged the programme.
“Instead of sending original militants to training and schools, they have replaced former militants with those that knew nothing about the militant struggle. When we complained they said we have no UN Code. The question is that the non-militants that were sent for training abroad where did they get their own UN code from.
“They preached peace and we accepted the peace but the current situation is that we are disappointed with the current happenings in the amnesty office. The allowances are not being paid regularly. We are serving notice to go back to the creeks”
Mr. Owei Lakemfa of the amnesty office in an interview explained that there are a lot of people who made protests which need to be understood.
He said all those that have not been paid for years means they are not part of the amnesty programme while those that were paid till last year would have the money once money is released.
“If they are being owed that means they are in the programme and I know that the amnesty office has paid up till last year. Now we are waiting for money to be released to pay,” he said.