Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Ex-militants from the Niger Delta thursday said they had concluded arrangements to march on Abuja, Nigeriaâ€™s capital, if the payment of their stipends is not effected soon.
The former warlords lamented alleged moves in the Amnesty Office to deny them their stipends and other benefits, noting that the programme has been infiltrated by non-Niger Deltans.
Coming under the third phase Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), the ex-militants urged the current Coordinator of the programme, Prof Charles Dokubo, to investigate their complaints and resolve their problem.
Leader of the group, â€˜Generalâ€™ Cairo Esenatebe, appealed to the federal government to consider their travails with a sense of urgency and seriousness.
â€œIt is something of shame and shock that since the third phase embraced the federal government Amnesty Programme, those of the third phase have been neglected and have become objects of pity,â€ the group leader lamented.
The former warlord advised the new Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Office to learn from the mistakes of his predecessor, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), in order to realise the objectives of the scheme.
He recalled that his group, the Cairo Group, stormed the National Assembly on November 1, 2017, for a protest against Boroh and submitted a petition to the lawmakers.
He said the petitions detailing injustices done them by the amnesty office were also sent to the Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and the Presidency.
Cairo insisted that if the current leadership failed to address their matter,his group would also embark on another round of protest.
â€œThe federal government Amnesty programme was solely created for the Ijaw youths and other youths in the Niger Delta region, but not for people in northern, western and the eastern parts of the country.
â€œWe also called for the sacking of non-Niger Deltans from the programme because they have become a stumbling block for human capacity development and the need for all-round development of the region.
â€œWe have been short-changed in the allocation of slots. We, therefore appeal for the payment of 1000 slots already approved for the Cairo Group because there is provision and appropriation in the 2018 budget in that regardâ€.
He insisted that if their requests were not considered, they would embark on a peaceful protest to the National Assembly to draw attention to their demands.