Two prominent ex-militant leaders, Mr Erikabowei Victor-Ben, popularly known as General Boyloaf, and the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), Commander Ateke Tom, yesterday criticized the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as poor in the area of infrastructural development and the fight against corruption.
Boyloaf and Ateke Tom were among the top ranking ex-militant leaders that are major supporters of the Jonathan administration and benefitted from the N5.6bn federal government contract for the monitoring of oil pipelines.
They said in an emailed statement that the noticeable failures of the Jonathan administration as “a huge embarrassment” and “a threat to their patience.”
In particular, they frowned at some members of the president’s cabinet, such as the ministers of Niger Delta and Petroleum Resources, and the chairman of the Amnesty Implementation Committee, Kingsley Kuky.
They said that even though President Jonathan had good intentions in establishing the Ministry of Niger Delta, the sustenance of the amnesty deal by the federal government and the appointment of some native of the region, the president would not have done enough to satisfy the people that voted him into power unless he checks the huge failure being recorded in the Niger Delta ministry.
Parts of the statement read thus: “With the recent happenings, we have come to the conclusion that the ministry that was set up to look at the issues of infrastructural development of the region has become a total, catastrophic failure and embarrassment to the government and the people it was set up to look into their affairs.
“When the ministry was set up, we saw some level of seriousness on the part of government to address the issues of our region, and we accepted and supported a native of the region. Little did we know that we were endangering our future and that of our next generation in the hands of an incompetent man.
“Those we supported are now leading the destruction of the region and are busy amassing wealth for their personal gains. There is evidence everywhere in the East-West road contract, shoreline protection contracts, empowerment and skill acquisition, design and development of coastal roads.
“Issues have been raised in many quarters, and yet everyone folds their arms and waits for things to take a turn for the worse. Just a week ago, another petrol tanker fell because of the deep potholes and roasted Nigerians to death. From statistics, the people that have died along the East-West road are now ten times those that died during the Niger-Delta struggle.”
The ex-militant leaders went further to state that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is now a “theatre of monumental fraud where all manners of shady deals are orchestrated”, rather than it show the way in the area of transparent and accountable performance.
On the recent poor rating of the implementation of the Amnesty deal of the federal government, the ex-militant leaders argued that though recent claims of fraud against the amnesty committee were without basis, it had observed the politicization and sectionalisation of the amnesty programme by its leadership, which runs counter to the yearnings of the people of the region.