Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Former Niger Delta warlords from the nine oil-producing states of the region yesterday described as laudable the recent increment of the Federal Governmentâ€™s Amnesty budget , following several complaints.
The former militants’ leaders also warned against â€˜sponsoredâ€™ demonstrations by youths in the area, insisting that the Paul Boroh-led presidential Amnesty has shown substantial commitment to the yearning of the ex-agitators.
In a statement they issued â€Žunder the aegis of the Niger Delta Concerned Ex-agitators (NDCE),â€Ž in Yenagoa and signed by the Secretary, Perewari Johnson, the group noted that recent efforts to ensure peace in the region had started bearing fruits.
Members of the NDCE particularly commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his approach to handling the complaints by the former militants.
â€ŽWhile citing the training and employment of several Niger Delta youths under the amnesty programme, the former militants urged stakeholders to rally round and ensure that the initiative succeeds.
â€œOnly in the month of June, over two thousand former agitators from the region commenced training in farming technology at the college of Agriculture at Iguoriakhi in Edo state.
â€œOver two hundred have been enrolled for an all-inclusive sports programme which will keep our youth gainfully engaged and over 1,000 youths are currently undergoing various skills acquisition training programmes in Bayelsa state”, they said.
However, the NDCE noted that a lot more was being expected as soon as funds were made available for the full training of the former agitators.
â€ŽThey warned against the alleged planned protest against the amnesty office by some â€˜sponsoredâ€™ ex-militants, insisting that the organisers were embarking on it at their own peril.
â€œWe condemn any form of protest that some persons are planning to embark upon and urge all well-meaning stakeholders and citizens not to allow people with selfish interests to use them against their fellow Niger Delta sonâ€, the group said.
According to the ex-militants, Boroh was being antagonised because he â€œrefused to succumb to their demand to award contracts that will not be executed and to share monies made for the empowerment and human capacity development of the Niger Delta regionâ€
They charged all relevant security agencies to ensure that â€œthese criminal elements are not allowed to protest and breach the peace being enjoyed in the regionâ€.