Develop Niger Delta or There Will Be Crisis, Ex-militants Warn Buhari
Militants in the Niger Delta under the Third Phase Group has called on the Federal Government to aggressively pursue development of the Niger Delta to forestall another crisis in the region. The former militants, who flayed the actions of former Presidential Adviser to the President on the Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, said that the call is timely as such failure in the past led to increase in militancy and unrest, which caused drastic drop in national earning.
The Ex-militants call was contained in a joint statement by National Chairman, Diepreye Ogbetebe; Vice Chairman, John Government; Secretary, Etarighobe Thompson and Delta State Chairman, Prince Ogor.They warned the current handlers to be mindful of what plagued the Kuku regime, claiming that the amnesty programme was a huge failure under its immediate past coordinator, Kuku.
They spoke as another Niger Delta group, Egbema Voice in Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call security agencies employing state apparatus to terrorize and harm the reputation of ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, to order.
The ex-militants said: “The Programme under Kuku specifically failed as a result of mismanagement of funds allocated for the programme by the Federal Government. Five groups under the third phase were marginalized and there were malicious diversion and deprivation of genuine and real persons that surrendered their arms and ammunition for which the slots were legitimately approved for.”
They also listed “incompetent, corrupt and unfair representation of Phase III by the so called self-imposed national leaders, deprivation/non-documentation of some of the ex-militants during the documentation exercise handled by inter-agency task forces in the various JTF barracks” as factors that hallmarked the past regime.
The group said that proper verification of arms and ammunition surrendered by various groups and war lords was not done before the allocation and disbursement of the 3642 slots to commence the Phase III of the programme.
“Despite the infinitesimal amount of the 3642 slots approved for Phase III, most of the camps that surrendered less than 20 guns were given up to 50 slots while some of the camps that surrendered above 50 guns were given three slots due to malicious diversion of slots,’’ they said.
Urging the current coordinator of the amnesty programme to look into the issues of ex-militant leaders and their foot followers in the Niger Delta region who were not documented, they said that such neglect was what led to frequent vandalization of pipelines and crude oil facilities in the region by various action groups in Ijaw and the rising Urhobo Gbagbako group.
They also called for immediate payment of all outstanding allowances to its leaders as well as train and engage them with gainful employments to reform and create a conducive environment for the nation.