• Ex-militants warn against planned protest
By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
A coalition of Niger Delta militants have called on the federal government to investigate the current state of affairs in the Presidential Amnesty Office led by Prof. Charles Dokubo.
The warlords also demanded a probe into the activities of the department responsible for reintegration of ex-militants, insisting that some underhand dealings were currently going on there.
The demand came, even as a counter group of ex-militant leaders under the aegis of the Environmental Rights Advocates Organisation of Niger Delta, (ERAOND) described the planned protest by the militants as misplaced, wicked and selfish.
In a statement yesterday, the Creek Lords and nine other militant groups, threatened that if an overhaul of the PAP by the federal government was not carried out, they would not hesitate to suspend their ceasefire declaration and go back to the trenches.
The statement signed by one ‘Col’ Derick Peter and Amas August, said the coalition would commence a massive protest in Abuja and the Niger Delta region in order to force the government to act.
According to the group, several names of authentic ex-militants were being swapped for suspicious ones by the amnesty office, a development they described as unacceptable.
“It has come to our notice that the laid down rules governing the Amnesty programme has been grossly flouted. It thereby reflects a high sense of inefficiency, incompetency and confusion in the operations of the scheme,” the warlords said.
The group said that a certain company close to some of the leaders of the programme was being used as a front under the guise of contracting companies with special consideration for jobs.
According to the Creek Lords, in an era where the programme was challenged by cash crunch, anytime payment was made to the programme, first line payment was made to the said company to the detriment of genuine contractors.
“Names of hundreds of beneficiaries of the programme have been swapped for strange and fictitious names. These fake names have become a random and recurring decimal under the current administration,” the warlords said.
Meanwhile, ERAOND, whose leaders are drawn from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have faulted the planned protest by some aggrieved beneficiaries of the amnesty programme against Dokubo.
The ex-militant leaders, in a message issued yesterday to newsmen in Yenagoa and signed by the Leader of the group, Chief Reuben Wilson, ‘Gen’ Godgift Ayabowei, ‘Gen’ Ezikiel Akpasibowei and Alex Watchman, called on those involved in the planned protest to have a change of heart and withdraw the plan against the amnesty office.
“It is unfair and unhealthy for us to be protesting against our own. We should learn to be our brothers’ keeper. We on those involved to cancel the protest and not rubbish the good work of the Amnesty office.
“The amnesty office under Prof. Charles Dokubo has been attending promptly to payment of stipends. We have not seen what he has done wrong to deserve the planned embarrassment. He has shown that he has a listening ear to all that is affecting the amnesty beneficiaries,” the ex-militants said.
They called on the aggrieved beneficiaries not to allow themselves to be used for politics within and outside the amnesty office.
The ex-militants asked the aggrieved militants to seek dialogue with the Amnesty Coordinator “who is always available to champion the good cause for the aims and objectives of the Amnesty Programme.”