Militants accuse politicians of hijacking Amnesty programme in Ondo

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Okrika, NIGERIA: Masked Ateke Tom militants hold their guns as they arrive at their camp, 13 April 2007, in Okrika, Rivers State. Ateke Tom is the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, an ethnic Ijaw militia in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Many militant groups in the delta say they are fighting for the control of government oil wells. Five people, including a senior police officer, were killed in clashes between rival cult gangs in southern Nigeria's oil-rich state of Rivers, the police said today. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL HEALING (Photo credit should read LIONEL HEALING/AFP/Getty Images)

A militant group in Ondo State, United Sea Wolf Avenger, said politicians in the state had hijacked the Federal Government’s Amnesty programme in the state by allocating the slots to their children, friends and political allies.

The group made the allegation in a statement in Lagos on Thursday signed by its leader, Gen. Deji Ehinmowo, Secretary, Gen. Akinfemi Raymond, and Adviser, Gen. Ogbaro Ariyo.

The Ondo State Government, had on Oct. 23, announced that the Federal Government would on Nov. 9 incorporate ex-militants in the riverine area of the state who are willing to submit their arms for the programme.

The militant group expressed regret that its members of over 400 from five camps in the state were neglected and not incorporated into the programme.

“We humbly want to alert Nigerians and the Federal Government that politicians in Ondo State are about to compromise the standard and integrity that the Nigerian security personnel has built over the years by hijacking the second phase of the amnesty programme.

“This is evidence in the outcome of the series of their meetings where Amnesty slots were given to their children, traditional rulers, friends in their political wards and units.

“The 2009 Amnesty programme was not for political patronage. The then government didn’t consider Amnesty slot to any political, religious and traditional leader.

“It is our strong belief that the purpose of the Amnesty programme is to mop up arms and achieve the desired peace in the oil rich region of Ondo State to attract investors to exploit the numerous natural resources that bound in the riverine community for the benefit of our people in the state and Nigeria at large.

“We want to put it on record that fake people had been recruited as militants into the second phase of the Amnesty programme in Ondo State by politicians in the state for political patronage.

“It is with strong belief that the present government in Ondo State is playing politics with the Amnesty programme without involving us in the process.

“We are using this opportunity to inform President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the security personnel that over 400 militants in our camp are ready to surrender arms in their possession if the government is ready to dialogue with us,’’ the group said.

The group also condemned the location of the flag off of the programme to Akure, instead of Igbokoda, the headquarters of Ilaje Local Government, which is the mandate area.

“This negates the practice in the past and how it was done in other states of the Niger Delta region where flag off took place in the mandate areas,’’ it said. (NAN)

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