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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ex-militants demand probe of Amnesty Office

Ex-militants in the third phase of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to launch an immediate investigation into the amnesty programme, warning that the incompetence of the leadership of the scheme could lead to widespread militancy in the Niger Delta region.

The ex-militants urged the government to prosecute all those culpable in the diversion and short-changing all that is due to members in the third-phase, saying if things continue the way they are, they would no longer be able to rein in the agitated colleagues.

Their warning came even as the Coordinator of the Bayelsa State Waterways Security Task Force, Africanus Ukparasia, aka Gen. Africa stated that his team would soon arrest operational leaders of the Niger Delta Avengers as part of its firm desire to rid the waterways of criminal activities.
The third phase ex-militants led by Comrade Wisdom Ibena Rufus in a chat with journalists Saturday in Abuja recalled that while the first and second phases of the amnesty programme had since been fully implemented, the third phase which was approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan has suffered non-implementation since Gen. Paul Boroh was appointed coordinator of the Amnesty Office.

"It is instructive to note that our members belong to the third phase amnesty programme which is yet to be implemented. The third phase militants comprises of about 10, 000 ex-militants who embraced the amnesty offered by the government and pursuant to that surrendered about 18, 000 arms to the government", Rufus said.

According to him, the federal government had committed itself to undertake the payment of disarmament allowances, payment of slot for each guns surrendered, housing allowances and proper documentation of the ex-militants in the third phase.

"Unfortunately however, the Amnesty Office has failed to address our problems with a view to ensuring that our members get all that is legally due to them. In fact, the coordinator of the amnesty programme has bluntly refused to give us audience despite several representations made to them. Worse still, while we the beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme are living from hand to mouth, those in the Amnesty Office are living larger than life", the ex-militants lamented.

We'll arrest Niger Delta Avengers -Gen. Africa
Gen. Africa who accused the NDA of adopting diversionary tactics in its recent claim that the three arrested ‘soldier-killers' were his boys, said he would apprehend the avengers just as he did the killers of security operatives.

“In the aftermath of the arrest of three persons who were alleged to have killed three soldiers in Nembe on August 08 2016, the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers had claimed that the boys arrested were Gen. Africa’s followers.

Ordinarily, we would not dignify the so-called Avengers with a response but unfounded and brazen as the claim is, we want to set the records straight by clearing the air on this diversionary tactics of the Avengers. We wish to state the following:

“That all of Gen. Africa’s boys are properly documented under the federal government amnesty programme, and the boys so arrested have given their names, their leaders and their communities.

“It is easy for anybody to go and cross-check with the amnesty office if any of these boys have at any time worked with Gen. Africa".
General Africa added that if the said ‘’boys’’ were his followers as the Avengers claimed, he would not have apprehended and handed them to the security agents.

The statement added further that “Gen. Africa has been unequivocally against the criminal activities of the Niger Delta Avengers and their sponsors for the fact that their activities were inimical to the Niger Delta region and the country. It is therefore not surprising to see the Avengers employ such diversionary tactics to drag his name into the inexcusable crime of people killing soldiers who were on their lawful duty.

“Africanus Ukparasia wishes to assure the Niger Delta Avengers that same way he apprehended the boys that killed the soldiers, he will also apprehend their key operational commanders and fighters to the security agencies if they do not stop their nefarious activities. He warned that their days are numbered.

“Gen. Africa worked for President Buhari in the last general elections and would not hesitate to support his government to succeed.

Therefore, the cheap propaganda of the Niger Delta Avengers would not deter him from doing what is right for Bayelsa state, the Niger Delta and the country at large", the statement read.

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