A faction of former Niger Delta militant group on Tuesday issued a one month ultimatum to the presidency to release unpaid allowances to them or risk another bout of crisis in the region.
Addressing the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, leaders of the ex-militants in Ughelli demanded that funds be released to members of the various camps, who are yet to recieve payment.
The group said the leader’s entrepreneurship training is yet to be implemented and that some members were sent for training, by the amnesty office, without duly notifying the leaders of the camps.
Two of the group’s leaders, Owonama Edward and Charles Akatakpo while speaking with journalists in the state, disclosed that they observed irregularities in the payment procedure as some members had not been paid.
“We have been experiencing a situation where some of the boys will receive their salaries in a particular month and have their names omitted the next month. We are insisting that the pending allowances should be paid,” they said.
They stressed that all the leaders should be carried along in all plans and procedures, adding that, “we the leaders are being treated like nuisance by the amnesty office; why? They should work towards the implementation of the leaders’ entrepreneurship training.”
The presidency had in January stated that the amnesty programme granted to ex-militants will not continue despite the agitation by several groups springing up in the region demanding to be accommodated in the programme.
In what appears to be an endorsement to participate in the 2015 Presidential election, the leader of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr Fredrick Fasheun has stated that President Goodluck Jonathan should contest the forthcoming presidential poll.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting with the Special Adviser to the President on Niger delta, the leader of the OPC, Dr Fasehun asked Nigerians to give the administration of President Jonathan a chance to bring development to the country.
Dr Fasehun had earlier requested the President to give the congress an opportunity to protect petroleum product pipelines from vandalisation.
The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr Kingsley Kuku used the opportunity of the meeting to pass on the appreciation of the President to the south west for the votes that he got from the region during the 2011 presidential election.
The relative peace experienced in Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta can be said to be fallout of the setting up of the presidential amnesty programme for militants in the region, but that programme will come to an end in 2015.
The Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty, Mr Kingsley Kuku, made this known at a press briefing on Saturday, when he announced that the programme will not continue despite the agitation by several groups springing up in the region demanding to be accommodated in the programme.
Mr Kuku stated that the federal government is putting plans in place to cater for those ex-militants whose training will elapse after the timeline for the programme.
He however noted that there might be the need to extend the programme after 2015, but will only be deemed fit after a series of evaluation.
The Third Phase of the Amnesty Programme will be involving an additional 3,642 ex-militants who are included in the programme following widespread agitations among the youths of the Niger Delta for inclusion in the programme.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, made this known as he confirmed that the Amnesty Office would ensure effective funding of the disarmament process of the ex-militants of the third phase for 31 days.
Mr. Kuku made this comment during the visit of the Chairman of the Inter Agency Task Force, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, stating that the federal government has commenced the effective implementation of the third phase of the Amnesty to ex-agitators of the Niger Delta.
According to Mr Kuku, it was the responsibility of the task force to ensure the reconciliation of arms and ammunition recovered from the militants in various security formations.
He also urged the members of the task force to ensure that they carry out their mandate in accordance with expectations.
He warned that the Amnesty Office would impose sanctions against anybody found to be involved in acts that could derail the programme.
18 ex-militants who are on amnesty training programme have graduated as private pilots at the African Union aviation academy in Johannesburg, South Africa
The special adviser to the president on Niger delta, Mr Kingsley Kuku who was at the presentation of certificate to the students reaffirmed the commitment of the government to empower the ex-militants to enable them contribute their quota to the development of the nation’s economy.
He revealed that the 26,358 persons who embraced the federal government’s amnesty programme will be trained in various fields before the end of twenty thirteen.
The graduation ceremony involved a demonstration of skill and competence by 17 student pilots who received their private pilot’s licence at the event while others were decorated for flying aircrafts unaccompanied by their instructors.
Mr Kuku who was flown by one of the student pilots at the Grand Central airport in Midrand, also expressed plans by the federal government to ensure that Nigeria dominate the aviation industry soon.
The chief executive officer of the aviation academy commended the federal government for investing in the youths.
Mr Kuku who also doubles as the chairman of the amnesty programme assured the students that the federal government will support them to enable them and secure their commercial pilot’s licence.
The 18 students who obtained their private pilot’s licence were presented with their licences while others who have attained the status of flying solo were decorated.
50 students under the amnesty programme are being trained as pilots in South Africa.