Ex-militants Laud Troops’ Withdrawal, Seek Funding for Amnesty Programme


Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Ex-militants under the auspices of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) on Wednesday applauded the federal government’s decision to withdraw troops from the Niger Delta communities who have been in search of radical groups in the region.

The National President of the LPCDI, Reuben Clifford Wilson, also known as ‘General Pastor’, said in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Wednesday, that directing the military to retreat from the coastal communities would further ease the growing tension in the area.

The federal government had on Tuesday asked the troops who had recently laid siege to communities where the violent agitators were purportedly hiding to withdraw, hinging its decision on the need to engage the angry youths in a dialogue.

According to the ex-agitators, who once took up arms against the federal government over alleged ill-treatment of the region, asking troops to end the siege on the innocent citizens would help foster confidence in the process of peace-building in the Niger Delta.

While calling on the Niger Delta Avengers which has recently destroyed oil platforms to desist forthwith, the group expressed worry about the continuous drop in the federal allocations to the Niger Delta states.

‘’The effect of the military presence in our local communities as in the case of Oporoza should be avoided in the future while we have this opportunity for a dialogue as the federal government has further shown their commitment by withdrawing the military from our communities’’, the leadership of the group noted.

The group whose membership spreads across the nine states of the oil-producing areas, appealed to the members of the Niger Delta Avengers and any other groups involved in the recent destruction of oil facilities to key in to the peace process.

‘’We would want to commend the federal government for withdrawing the military from our communities to allow for a meaningful dialogue.

‘’We advise the government to consider the prompt payment of any benefits due the beneficiaries of the current Federal Government Amnesty programme because most of the beneficiaries cannot stand the hardship being faced in the area as a result of the persistent delay in payment of their monthly stipends.

‘’The Federal Government should also consider the inadequate budgetary allocation to the amnesty office since the amnesty programme is a security programme’’, the LPCDI said.

Further details later