15,000 Militants Disarm

Date: 12-10-2009 10:14 am (14 years ago) | Author: Teeco Designer
- at 12-10-2009 10:14 AM (14 years ago)
Chief Amnesty Co-ordinator, Air Vice Marshal Lucky Ararile, said yesterday that 15,000 active  militants in the Niger Delta surrendered under the two-month amnesty which expired on Sunday, while 5,000 weapons and 18 gunboats had also been handed in.
President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua will today in Abuja, meet some of the militant commanders who have surrendered.
However,  Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), said  it would resume fighting, because, "most of those who had disarmed were rented.
"Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, yesterday, Ararile said 8,299 militants had officially been disarmed since August, but the figure is expected  to rise considerably, because there had been a last-minute rush before the deadline.
"Eventually, we will be looking at between 14,000 and 15,000 by the time the men are fully documented," he said.
Ararile said  government had so far built only three centres to educate and house  former militants, and would have to build more if it did not want them to  wait too long.
"We will have a total capacity for 2,400 people at a time, but we are talking about 15,000 ex-militants," he said."
The constraint here is the amount of bed space that is available. Re-orientation training will take a month, so we will take in 2,400 per month," he added.Some ex-militants took to the streets in Delta State, to protest government's failure to pay them the promised monthly living allowance of N65,000 and threatened to take up arms again.
A faction of MEND, led by Henry Okah, said most of those who had surrendered "were rented by  government in the hope that real militants would be persuaded.
The group said its commanders had been replaced and that it would resume attacks on oil pipelines and installations from next Thursday.
We will fight for our land with the last drop of our blood, regardless of how many people the government of Nigeria and  oil companies are successful in bribing,"  an e-mail sent by MEND Spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, noted.MEND declared a 60-day ceasefire on July 15, to allow for peace talks shortly after Okah was freed from prison. It extended the ceasefire by a month  mid-September, despite not having held any formal discussions with government.
The BBC reported that in the Niger Delta,  some former leaders of the group have dismissed the threat to resume hostilities as empty, and it is not clear how many fighters belong to Okah's faction.
Ararile told the BBC: "in any organisation you have renegades. If they want to continue with their activities, that's their choice. MEND says it is fighting so that Niger Delta residents could benefit more from their region's oil wealth. But much of the violence is carried out by criminal gangs.Meanwhile, the Director General, Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC),  Abuja, Ambassador Yusuf Adamu, yesterday  urged all public officers  responsible for  the implementation of the amnesty deal between the Federal Government and former Niger Delta militants  to be proactive and ensure that  the programme  was not sabotaged.
He said the amnesty should be allowed to achieve the  expected result  of restoring  lasting peace in  the  oil rich region and the entire country.
 Adamu gave the advice while fielding questions from  journalists at  the on- going one- week training workshop for Man ‘O War officers and patrons in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory being organised by the  Centre at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Keffi, Nasarawa state.
He described the amnesty deal as one of the most outstanding achievements of the Federal Government, saying  Nigeria needed peace to attract genuine development from both local and foreign investors.

Source: Thisday

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Posted: at 12-10-2009 10:14 AM (14 years ago) | Addicted Hero